UW Extension bulletin explains soil moisture sensors for irrigation management

Man is looking at a soil moisture sensor in a field.
Vivek Sharma examines a soil moisture sensor used in a Powell Research and Extension Center field.

A new University of Wyoming Extension publication focuses on different methods and techniques of soil moisture measurement and how producers and water managers can determine soil moisture.

“Methods and Techniques for Soil Moisture Monitoring,” B-1331, shows how effective irrigation management combined with more efficient irrigation systems and soil moisture monitoring can lead to more efficient water use and reduced energy costs.

Vivek Sharma, extension irrigation specialist, provides brief descriptions of each soil moisture monitoring method and how sensors operate in order to know which sensors are suitable in a particular production setting and operation. Sharma is an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences in the University of Wyoming and is based at the Powell Research and Extension Center.

The bulletin is available in pdf, HTML or ePub formats. To view or download the bulletin, go to www.uwyo.edu/uwe and click the Find a Publication link and type in the bulletin title or number.

Niche markets, loans topics at women in agriculture workshop

Agriculture and niche markets and how to be a better borrower are featured topics at a “Women in Agriculture” lunch Saturday, Jan. 27, in Powell.

The session is 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Nelson House, 550 College Dr. Lunch is provided, said Jeremiah Vardiman, University of Wyoming Extension educator. The seminar is free to all women in or interested in agriculture, including commercial agriculture, farmers markets, agriculture service and agriculture industry, he said.

“We are going to open this great event up with a presentation on niche markets in agriculture and then after lunch explore with our local lenders how to be a better borrower,” said Vardiman.

RSVPs are requested by Tuesday, Jan. 23. Call 307-754-8836. For more information, contact Vardiman at the same number.

Powell R&E Center hosts micronutrients for sugarbeets mini-field day

Vivek Sharma

What micronutrients are needed and when by sugarbeets to get maximum yields with the least stress is the focus of a mini-field day at the Powell Research and Extension Center.

The free workshop is 10:30 a.m.-noon Monday, Sept. 11, at the center north of Powell, said Jeremiah Vardiman, University of Wyoming Extension educator. Lunch is provided.

Vivek Sharma’s micronutrient management in sugarbeet research will be highlighted during the field demonstration and discussion. Sharma is an assistant professor of agronomy and extension irrigation specialist with UW.

Vardiman said Sharma’s research seeks to improve seedling vigor and root growth, increase leaf surface area and potentially reduce nitrogen applications while driving late-season sugar percentages and tonnage with micronutrient management.

“This research is honing the knowledge to more uniform and better beet emergence, building stronger and bigger roots in spite of cold wet conditions and improve seedling vigor,”
said Vardiman.

Early-season foliar applications drive row closure by increasing leaf surface area and late-season foliar applications drive sugar content into the beet at the end of the season, he said.

For more information or to RSVP for lunch, contact Sharma at 307-754-2223.

University of Wyoming assistant professor dies in motorcycle crash

Gustavo Sbatella responds to a question during the research poster session at the Powell Research and Extension Center field day July 13.

Colleagues and friends at the University of Wyoming are reacting to the death Wednesday evening of a fellow scientist killed in a motorcycle accident in Nevada.

Gustavo Sbatella of Powell died in the crash near Valley of Fire State Park in southeastern Nevada, according to the Nevada Highway Patrol, which said heavy rain contributed to the crash.

Sbatella, 52, was an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and was based at the Powell Research and Extension Center.

“We lost an indispensable faculty member,” said Jim Heitholt, head of the department. “He had a savvy for conducting research in weed science, and we as his colleagues became better scientists because of him.”

The dean of the college echoed the sentiment.

“Gustavo was an accomplished scientist, a wonderful human being and a friend. We will miss him,” said Frank Galey.
Sbatella was the extension irrigated crop and weed specialist and conducted research in the Big Horn Basin.

“Gustavo provided crop producers in northwest Wyoming and beyond with answers to their weed control issues and other production challenges,” said Heitholt. “Our crop producers loved him as much as we did.”

Sbatella also taught courses and mentored graduate students. He cared deeply about his students and making sure they were successful, said Heitholt.

“Students who worked in his program or had taken his classes not only learned the basics of how weeds grew, but also the practical aspects of how to employ environmentally sound control measures,” he said.

Continue reading University of Wyoming assistant professor dies in motorcycle crash

UW Extension presents two canning workshops in Powell


Extension nutrition and food safety educator Phyllis Lewis, right, and educator Tina Russell with various canning equipment earlier this year.

Pressure and water bath canning workshops are in August at the Park County Fairgrounds in Powell, presented by the University of Wyoming Extension.

The sessions are 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10, and 8:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 11, said Phyllis Lewis, UW Extension nutrition and food safety educator.

The class is limited to 15 people, and there is a $10 fee to cover materials, she said.

For more information or to pre-register, contact Rachel Olsen at the Park County extension office in Powell at 307-754-8836 or rolsen@parkcounty.us by 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4.