College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources
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Alfalfa grows in a lower-valley field in late May in Pershing County, Nevada. Photo by Steve Foster.
As wildfire smoke continues to fill the skies and drought grips the West, farmers are trying to cope with dwindling water supplies and do what they can to sustain profitable operations, this year and into the future. It’s a chess game, with Mother Nature proving a formidable opponent. Crop experts and researchers from our College are trying to give producers a fighting chance.
Steve Foster (pictured), Extension educator in Pershing County, and Gary McCuin, Extension educator and director of our Great Basin Research & Extension Center in Eureka County, are advising Nevada growers on breakeven tons per acre, crop challenges and how to best manage them, using technology to irrigate more efficiently, and actions to take to help crops overwinter, helping Nevada's farmers to better weather the drought.
Extension Field Crop Specialist and Associate Professor Maninder K. Walia is growing different varieties of teff for forage to see how their quality and nutrients compare to alfalfa. Previous research by our College showed teff is a good alternative and rotation crop for Nevada. This new research will help Nevada farmers who do not have the equipment to harvest its grain to know if it can be grown for forage.
Assistant Professor Alejandro Andrade-Rodriguez is working to develop a smart deficit irrigation system. The system will figure out when and how much to water crops, and will water them at a deficit, or less than normal but enough to maintain yield and quality. He'll share his computer code with other scientists who are working to help producers to survive drought. This will impact producers in our state and beyond.
Giving producers a fighting chance against the perfect storm
"The drought is devasting for producers. The demand for hay is through the roof. Because of the drought on the rangeland, and people needing to feed their livestock, it’s not just the dairies needing it now. Now everybody is looking for it in all states. There’s all that unirrigated land that isn’t growing anything. They’ve had to pull everything off the range. Nothing is growing, and then there’s the fires. It’s a perfect storm." -Extension Educator Gary McCuin
Paul Meiman and Brad Schultz are researching the effects of two herbicides for cheatgrass to determine their effects on other plant communities, in hopes of providing land managers with effective strategies for reducing wildfire fuels. Photo by Paul Meiman.
With wildfires raging in the West, two researchers in our College are doing further studies on two herbicides known to reduce cheatgrass, a fine fuel that ignites readily. The researchers are monitoring the effects of the herbicides on plant species that often grow with cheatgrass, to give the benefits and risks associated with its usage. Paul Meiman, associate professor and Extension specialist, is working with Brad Schultz, professor and Extension educator for Humboldt County, to test the use of the herbicides.
Researching opportunities to break the wildfire cycle
"Cheatgrass invasion is one of the biggest challenges facing natural resource management and managers in the West right now, especially in our part of Nevada. Even if we see some unwanted effects from the herbicides with this study, they may be outweighed by the opportunity to break the cycle of recurring fires." -Associate Professor Paul Meiman
New Extension educators Misha Allen and Lois Erquiaga are getting out into their communities to meet needs hands on.
Two new Extension educators are working with their communities to build strong programs, including additional 4-H Youth Development programming, and provide needed resources.
Extension Educator for Northern Nye County Misha Allen will rely on her past experience in serving rural areas to get the job done. Extension Educator for Lander County Lois Erquiaga is leveraging her past experience as a mental health counselor and social services worker to find the local resources to build requested programs.
Investing in Nevada's rural communities
"Extension is excited to welcome Misha and Lois. Their restart of community programming in northern Nye and Lander County is already showing impacts in these rural areas." -Extension Northern Area Director Holly Gatzke
Extension gave children and their parents a jumpstart on preparing for kindergarten this fall with its Kickoff to Kindergarten fair.
Extension partnered with Las Vegas-Clark County Library District to host the sixth annual Kickoff to Kindergarten fair in late August. The event featured hands-on and take-home activities and resources to provide children ages 3-5 and their parents with the knowledge and skills to help get the children ready for kindergarten.
"We had a really good turnout," Program Officer Heidi Petermeier, said. "An amazing compliment was Senator Denis came early and chatted with vendors during set-up and then returned later with his family with a preschooler to participate in the event."
Partnering to promote pre-k school readiness
“This event highlighted different readiness activities, and we had many resources and materials for families that help improve school-readiness skills from home. This was all possible thanks to all our wonderful partners.” –Associate Professor YaeBin Kim
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4-H Youth Development
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Environment & Nature
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Food Safety & Quality
Forage & Food Crops
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Gardens, Trees & Landscapes
Livestock & Domestic Animals
Pests & Plant Diseases