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Agriculture - Crops and Livestock

Nitrate Levels in Forage Crops

Nitrates can accumulate in many cereal crops; which becomes a concern to agricultural producers when these crops are harvested for hay or used as forage for livestock.  High levels of nitrate in the plants can cause nitrate toxicity in ruminant animals.  Nitrate toxicity can result in reduced milk production, weight loss, abortion, and death. To prevent nitrate toxicity it is important to have small grain forage and hay tested for nitrates. 

If the crop is still standing in the field, cut approximately 15 plants, at ground level, from random locations in the field (be sure and cover the entire field not just the edges) and bring the plants into the Extension office for a quick analysis. 

If the crop has been baled, come into the Extension office and borrow the hay probe and collect samples from at least 20 bales.  Combine the samples into one ziploc bag and this sample will then be sent into the lab and tested for nitrates. See the link below for more information on nitrate levels and toxicity and feel free to call the office with any questions.

Nitrate Toxicity of Montana Forages

Developing Cash Land Leases and Crop Share Leases

Below are several documents and excel tools to assist landowners and tenants in developing a lease for crop or pasture land. There are many resources out there; these are just a few. Feel free to call the office with questions or for more resources on this topic.

Montana Land Lease Rates - County Averages

Montana Grazing Rates - State Averages

MSU Extension Checklist for Leasing Considerations

MSU Extension Methods and Procedures for Estimating Rent for Crop Share and Flexible Cash Leases - Excel Program

Iowa State University Extension Improving Your Farm Lease Contract

University of Nebraska - Lincoln Extension Comparison of Returns for Cash or Crop Share