Our mission: The High Plains Ag Lab (HPAL) is a satellite unit of the Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff. Our mission is to improve the profitability of dryland crop and livestock production through applied research responsive to the needs of local producers.
Location: Six miles northwest of Sidney, NE, in the heart of western Nebraska’s major dryland crop production area. View a map.
Research Capacity: Total acreage: the HPAL covers 2,400 acres, one-third in dryland crop rotations and two-thirds in pasture.
Expertise: Fifty to 60 research trials are conducted each year by scientists based at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center as well as University of Nebraska-Lincoln and neighboring states. Expertise includes agronomy; plant breeding, physiology, and pathology; soil fertility; irrigation; entomology; weed science; marketing and economics; and livestock nutrition.
Administration and Staff:
Interim Director, Panhandle Research and Extension Center: Dr. Gary Hergert
Ag Lab Supervisor: Dr. Dipak Santra
Farm Manager: Mr. Tom Nightingale
Advisory Board Chairman: Keith Rexroth, Farmer, Sidney, NE
Rob Higgins, Cropping Systems Technician
Paul McMillen, Animal Science Technician
Vernon Florke, Alternative Crop Breeding Technician
Crop rotation systems: Research crops are produced on 27 fields ranging in size from 22 to 36 acres. View a 2009 map of research plots. Seven different crop rotations range in length from two to six years. Various cropping system components are represented: summer fallow, no-fallow, minimum tillage and no-tillage. These systems allow research with the same crops and rotations used by our clientele. In 2006, 75 acres were certified for organic production.
Irrigated plots: A 15-acre, lateral-move irrigation system enables scientists to simulate different precipitation patterns.
Long-Term Tillage Plots: Established in 1970 to compare moldboard plow, sub-tillage, and no-tillage fallow systems on winter wheat and soil parameters. A native sod treatment has been maintained.
Grain dryer and storage: A continuous flow dryer and grain storage system allow direct harvest of proso millet and emerging alternative crops with a stripper header.
Nine pastures: Cattle graze crested wheatgrass pastures to assess supplementation, feed additives or health measurements on performance.