Former Panhandle UNL faculty present seminar ahead of HPAL field day

corn plants
Craig Chandler / University Communication
June 8, 2021

Lincoln, Neb. —A pair of former faculty members at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center will present a seminar June 14 at the Panhandle Center.

Drew Lyon, former dryland cropping systems specialist at the Panhandle Center, is now the Endowed Chair of Small Grains Extension and Research and Weed Science at Washington State University.

David Baltensperger, former alternative crops breeding specialist in the Panhandle, is now the Professor and Head of the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Lyon and Baltensperger will speak beginning at 3 p.m. in the Bluestem Room at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center. The public is invited and there is no charge.

During their tenures in Nebraska, both men were also faculty supervisors at the UNL High Plains Agricultural Lab (HPAL), which is near Sidney. They are returning to western Nebraska to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of HPAL. That will be one of the focuses of the annual June HPAL field day on June 15.

Lyon will be speaking about extension tools and resources he’s using at Washington State, including decision-support tools and calculators for crop producers related to selecting crop varieties, soils, weather, and so on. Lyon has developed tools such as on-line calculators and uses podcasts and blogs to reach his audiences. He will also talk about an emerging weed in the Northwest, Smooth Scouringrush.

Baltensperger’s topic will be “Semi-arid farming—from the dirty 30’s with a look to 2030.” He will be placing emphasis on alternative crops.

Baltensperger and Lyon each will speak for 40 to 45 minutes, separated by a brief break.

For those who cannot attend in person, the seminar will be available on Zoom. For details, contact UNL Dryland Cropping Systems Specialist Cody Creech at

HPAL Field Day

Baltensperger and Lyon will both speak the next day, June 15, at the High Plains Ag Lab (HPAL) June Field Day and 50th (+1) Anniversary Celebration. The 50th anniversary actually fell in 2020, but last year a virtual field day on the World Wide Web replaced the face-to-face event. So the decision was made to hold the celebration this year.

The field day will start in the afternoon and include a supper and tailgate expo at 6:30 p.m., following the field tours. During the meal, Lyon and Baltensperger will share their perspectives on the importance of the work performed at HPAL over five decades to local producers.

The June 15 field day will begin at 3 p.m. with the field pea variety tour. Dipak Santra, Alternative Crops Breeding Specialist at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center, will host the tour along with seed company representatives. Registration for the pea variety tour begins at 2:30 p.m. at the HPAL shop.

At 3:30 p.m. registration begins for the wheat plot tours and presentations, and trailers leave the shop at 4 p.m. University and industry personnel will present research and wheat varieties. The field day and celebration will include activities for kids.

Tour stops include:

Wheat TAPS Competition and Wheat Research Update - Cody Creech, UNL Dryland Cropping Systems Specialist

Wheat Stem Sawfly Update - Jeff Bradshaw, UNL Entomologist

CoAXium Wheat Production System - Chad Shelton, Albaugh LLC

Spring and Winter Wheat Variety Testing - Amanda Easterly, UNL Assistant Research Professor;  UNL Katherine Frels, Small Grains Breeding Specialist

Wheat Fertility - Bijesh Maharjan, UNL Fertility and Nutrient Management Specialist

Ag Econ Update - Jessica Groskopf, UNL Regional Ag Economist

Annual Forage Production and Grazing Supplements - Mitch Stephenson, UNL Range/Forage Management Specialist; Karla Wilke, UNLCow-Calf / Range Management Specialist

Directions: From Sidney, head north on Hwy 385 and turn west on Rd 32 (at the Huntsman Elevator). Turn north on Rd 111 and in 1/3 mile head west on Rd 32N, which will loop slightly. Meet at shop on 32N and park on north side of road.

More Information: Cody Creech, 308-632-1266 or

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