University of Wyoming Extension News

Alfalfa U focuses on production decisions

Anowar islam during a forage tour.

Anowar Islam during a forage tour.

Information to help producers make production decisions and how alfalfa can contribute to an operation’s profitability is the focus of Alfalfa U Thursday, Feb. 25, in Loveland, Colo.

The event is 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at The Ranch at the Larimer County Fairgrounds, 5280 Arena Circle.

Anowar Islam, forage agroecologist with the University of Wyoming Extension, is a keynote speaker presenting “The Agronomy of Alfalfa.”

“I will cover seeds to weeds to pests to soils, and what are the tools that can help an alfalfa grower produce the best possible yield and quality,” said Islam.

Other presentations include:
* “Improved Digestion and Quality.”
* “Feed Value Matters.”
* “Hay in a Day.”
* “Managing Salinity in Alfalfa.”

“This will be a great farmer-focused event, especially for those who want alfalfa in their cropping/animal production systems and improve yield, quality and profitability,” said Islam.

Registration is free and open to all, and lunch is provided. For more information, visit www.hpj.com/alfalfau or contact Islam at 307-766-4151 or mislam@uwyo.edu.

Plant scientist joins James C. Hageman Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center

Carrie Eberle examines volunteer spring canola in late October as part of her studies in Minnesota. The canola was allowed to regrow from the first crop to provide a late-season floral resource for pollinators.

Carrie Eberle examines volunteer spring canola in late October as part of her studies in Minnesota. The canola was allowed to regrow from the first crop to provide a late-season floral resource for pollinators.

A scientist specializing in agronomy and cropping systems is joining the James C. Hageman Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center (SAREC) near Lingle.

Carrie Eberle began Monday, Feb. 1.
SAREC is part of the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station housed in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming.

Eberle has been studying alternative crops during her postdoctoral work in Minnesota.
“A big focus has been on how we can use agriculture to better provide ecosystem services like reducing soil erosion and providing benefits to pollinator health while still maintaining strong economic value to the farmer,” said Eberle, who received her B.S. in biology and horticulture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her Ph.D. in plant sciences from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

Eberle is an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences in the college.

She said she believes much of her work in Minnesota looking at soil and water quality and agroecosystems is directly applicable in Wyoming.

“I am excited to work with the growers to start to exploring alternative cropping systems that are going to provide economic opportunity and be more sustainable for the area,” she said.

New report suggests strategic land-use planning can increase firefighting efficiency

Anna Scofield

Anna Scofield

Building houses far apart and in locales beyond town – the wildland-urban interface – increases firefighting costs in the Rocky Mountain West, according to a new report from the Open Spaces Initiative at the University of Wyoming.

The authors suggest strategic land use planning can reduce wildfire suppression costs by increasing firefighting efficiency.

“Residential Development Effects on Firefighting Costs in the Wildland-Urban Interface” lead author Anna Scofield spent 10 years as a wildland firefighter before taking up the research at the University of Wyoming.

According to the report, available from the University of Wyoming Extension at bit.ly/Firedevelopmentcost, the dramatic rise in firefighting costs over the last decade is due in part to the growth of residential development in the wildland-urban interface.

“Protecting homes from fire is dangerous and expensive. Solutions to rising costs must address that reality,” said Scofield. (See bit.ly/firecost for a report on Forest Service firefighting expenses.)

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GMOs, mobile apps for ranchers, getting better prices topics at WESTI Ag Days in Worland

Extension specialist Cole Ehmke, right, visits with Fred Drake of Ten Sleep after an estate planning session at last year's WESTI Ag Days.

Extension specialist Cole Ehmke, right, visits with Fred Drake of Ten Sleep after an estate planning session at last year’s WESTI Ag Days.

More than 35 sessions, including presentations on soil health, native grasses for range and pasture and composting with worms, are part of WESTI Ag Days for agriculture producers Friday, Feb. 19, and small-acreage landowners and gardeners Saturday, Feb. 20, in Worland.

WESTI (Wyoming Extension’s Strategically and Technologically Informative) Ag Days registration begins both days at 8 a.m., with closing remarks and a raffle both days at 4:30 p.m.  at the Worland Community Center Complex, 1200 Culbertson Ave.

The Washakie County office of University of Wyoming Extension and Washakie County Conservation District sponsor the annual event, now in its 19th year.

A private pesticide applicator’s class is 12-4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, at the Washakie County Extension office in the Worland Community Center. Caitlin Youngquist, UW Extension educator, recommends the course for those needing to renew their licenses and noted registration is required.

Experts from the University of Wyoming and USDA present ways at WESTI to improve safety, profitability and enjoyment. The schedule and more information are at bit.ly/2016westiagdays. Lunch is provided by the Washakie County Cowbelles both days.

Friday topics for farmers and ranchers include herbicide resistance, nutrient management, livestock market outlook, futures, water rights, sage grouse, mobile apps and Google Earth for agriculture and communicating about GMOs (genetically modified organisms).

Saturday topics for small-acreage landowners and gardeners include weed and pest management, pollinators and irrigation, native landscaping, livestock genetics, horse management, alternative energy, and how to prepare for a disaster and preserving the garden harvest.

For more information, contact UW Extension’s Janet Benson at 307-347-3431 or  jbenso19@uwyo.edu.

UW professor explores Wyoming producer 2014 Farm Bill participation

farm billThe 2014 Farm Bill eliminated prior farm safety net programs and introduced a suite of new ones.

A new publication from the University of Wyoming Extension reviews how the new programs work and possible benefits to producers.

Author Nicole Ballenger, a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, looks at safety net program elections by Wyoming producers. She also examines whether or not Wyoming growers are taking advantage of these programs to provide some degree of price or revenue protection for their businesses.

“Price and revenue protection in the 2014 Farm Bill: Update for Wyoming,” B-1274, is available by going to www.uwyo.edu/uwe and clicking on Publications on the left-hand side of the page. Type the bulletin name or number into the search field to access the bulletin. Clicking on the title provides access to the bulletin’s website or pdf.