University offers agricultural crop research tours at Field Day in Fallon | NevadaAppeal.com
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University offers agricultural crop research tours at Field Day in Fallon

Chickpeas are one of the crops being researched by University of Nevada, Reno Extension at the Experiment Station Fallon Research Center.
Photo by Maninder K. Walia.

Research being done on drought-tolerant and salt-tolerant crops

Agriculture producers and others are invited to get a first-hand look at crop trials and research being conducted in northern Nevada by the University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources. Field Day in Fallon is free and open to the public, and will take place 9:30-10:30 a.m., Aug. 12, at the College Experiment Station’s Fallon Research Center, 2053 Schurz Highway, as well as at two local farms.

“With a limited water supply, we are always looking for drought-tolerant crops for long-term sustainability,” said Maninder K. Walia, assistant professor and field crop specialist with the College’s Extension unit. “We are also looking at crops in high demand that our producers are interested in growing.” 

The Field Day will include walking tours and discussions of crops being researched at the Experiment Station and at two local farms. The crops currently being researched at the Experiment Station include chickpeas, dry beans, and ag and forage soybeans. Walia will discuss plant traits of these crops, including early maturity, forage nutrient content, biomass production and drought tolerance.

The crops being grown and studied at the local farms are hemp and butternut squash, two crops with increasing demand. Walia partnered with Joe Frey at Rambling River Ranches to conduct research on hemp.

“There has been a good deal of interest in growing hemp from local producers, so we wanted to do some crop trials based on our growing conditions here in northern Nevada,” she said.

This spring, Walia also began a three-year butternut squash crop trial at Rick Lattin’s Lattin Farms. There were four varieties planted in mid-May. The varieties are being evaluated in terms of quality, taste, consumer demand, ability to grow in Nevada’s climate and overall yield. 

“There is a high demand from casinos in particular for butternut squash,” Walia said. “They use it for soup and other recipes.”

At the Field Day, Walia will also discuss opportunities to partner with the University to develop new cropping systems adapted to northern Nevada. Close-toed shoes, long pants, hats and sunscreen are recommended. Face coverings and social distancing will be required. The event is limited to the first 50 people who register. For more information or to register, call 775-423-5121, ext. 21, or email brownl@unr.edu by Aug. 9. Persons in need of special assistance should call three days prior to the event.