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Pershing County Programs

Soybean Production in Nevada

Farmer standing on a tractor observes harvested soybeans being unloaded from the tractor into a large white canvas bag Cooperative Extension research shows that soybeans may have potential as a low-water-use alternative crop to alfalfa in Nevada. Photo by Steve Foster.

Extension researches soybeans to increase profitability and provide an alternative crop option for local producers


Alfalfa hay, alfalfa seed and small grains are the principle crops produced in Nevada’s Pershing County. Alfalfa hay remains by far the most important crop in terms of both acres harvested and value of production. Despite an 80 percent reduction in alfalfa seed acreage over the last nine years, it remains in second place, followed by “other hay” production. Small grains are grown as a rotational crop between the establishments of alfalfa crops. However, as Nevada is the driest state in the country, Nevada agricultural producers need to identify profitable low-water-use crops. Having faced a record-breaking drought 2012-2016, surface irrigation water supplies were greatly reduced, and groundwater levels are dropping in many locations. As a result, water resources are carefully managed and allocated. In Pershing County, the maximum water allotment from the Pershing County Water Conservation District is 3 feet of water per acre per year.

Response/What’s Been Done

To increase the profitability of local farmers and provide an alternative crop option that can grow with Nevada’s limited water resources, Extension began the Soybean Production in Nevada Program in 2012. Extension conducted research, including partnering with a Pershing County producer in 2017 to design and manage a test plot of three different soybean varieties at three levels of maturity to determine if soybeans would grow in the Pershing County area; which variety would grow best in the area; and if soybeans could be grown profitably. A curriculum was developed, presented and evaluated. It was used as part of an all-day educational program in 2017 to teach producers the recommended practices for growing soybeans in Nevada. There were 18 farmers from Pershing County at the program in 2017.

Results/Impact and Partners

Farmers who attended the program in 2017 were asked to rate the amount of knowledge they gained, on a scale of 1 to 5. The average rating in knowledge gained on all topics presented was 4.79. All 18 participants indicated that they would consider growing soybeans on their farming operations from the information provided during this training.

Results of the soybean test plots showed that soybeans may have potential as a crop in Nevada, and further research will be conducted again in 2018. The research showed that an earlier-maturing soybean performed better than the later-maturing varieties. After seeing the test plot results at Soybean Field Day, one farmer plans on planting 50 acres of soybeans. Extension was also contacted by another farmer for help in planting 15-20 acres of organic soybeans in 2018.

Research partners included the Nevada Nile Ranch and Nevada Soy Products.

After attending the program, participants believed they could increase their profitability by planting soybeans, in addition to their standard crops.


“I plan on planting 50 acres of soybeans after seeing the results of the Cooperative Extension test plots.”

— 2017 Soybean Field Day attendee

Contact: Steve Foster, 775-273-2923

Programs Program Information

Integrated Pest Management

Nevada Department of Agriculture’s records show the use of traditional pesticides continues to increase in the state. Nevada’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program helps agricultural producers, land managers; pest control operators, homeowners and other pest managers learn about and use alternative pest management strategies in a variety of environments and settings.

Noxious Weed Control and Awareness Education

Noxious and invasive weeds are widespread throughout Nevada. They threaten agricultural and rangeland productivity. Rural counties are susceptible to significant adverse economic damage. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension education programs help individuals and weed control organization reduce the abundance of noxious weeds.

Project MAGIC

Project MAGIC is an innovative, collaborative program designed to help juvenile offenders leave the criminal justice system and become productive members of society. While participating in the program, young people ages 12 to 18 learn: positive communication skills, team building, problem solving and decision making, self-responsibility, conflict resolution, aspiration building and goal setting. Youth also select and conduct a service project designed to benefit their community. Parent sessions include the same life skills.

Risk Management

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) develops and delivers a comprehensive risk management education program to livestock and forage producers in Nevada.

Soybean Production in Nevada

Farmer standing on a tractor observes harvested soybeans being unloaded from the tractor into a large white canvas bag

Sustainable Agricultural Practices

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension conducts several sustainable agriculture programs including researching alternative crops, introducing sustainable biodiversity/multiple use of rangelands, and increasing the number of pest control materials labeled in and increasing the knowledge and implementation rate of IPM practices in Nevada.

Statewide Programs *Statewide programs may not be available in all counties

Programs Program Information
4-H Youth Development
Cattlemen’s Update
Food Safety Project
Grow Your Own, Nevada
Herds and Harvest
Integrated Riparian Management/Creeks and Communities
Invasive Species (Weeds)
Nevada Radon Education Program
Nevada State GEAR UP
Nevada Youth Range Camp
People of the Land
Pesticide Safety Education Program
Stronger Economies Together
Weed Prevention and Management
Youth for the Quality Care of Animals