Winter Wheat Chickpeas Barley Corn

Announcements and Upcoming Events

Central Ag Research Center 2024 Field Day - June 26, 2024 beginning at 8:15am.  This event is free and open to the public.

Montana AG Prices

This website allows users to compare current and historical price reports from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service for several types of grains, hay, and cattle at several locations across Montana.

Crop Articles

Pythium and cold damage issues on winter wheat and pulsus AG Alert

The Schutter diagnostic lab has recently received plant samples with symptoms of frost damage. Cold injury is often found on crops in low-lying areas where cold air presides, and damage is often sporadic in the field.

2023 Montana Spring Wheat Variety Performance Evaluations

2023 Montana Spring Wheat Variety Performance Evaluations (pdf)

2023 Small Grain Quick Facts - Hard Red Spring Wheat (pdf)

Wheat Streak Mosaic FAQ (pdf)

Wheat streak mosaic is a common and economically important disease of small grains in the Great Plains States, including Montana.  The disease tends to be most damaging in production areas where fall-sown small grains overlap with spring-sown small grains.  This fact sheet answers commonly asked questions to help identify and manage wheat streak mosaic. 

Windbreaks and Shelter Beds: Are they Really Worth It?

Windbreaks and shelterbelts were offered to solve devastating erosion during the 1920s dustbowl across Kansas, Oklahoma, and north Texas. The idea is that wind barriers slow wind enough to reduce the lifting and movement of soil particles by strong winds. A secondary benefit is to lessen the drying effect of wind sucking moisture out of plants and soil surfaces.

Schutter Diagnostic Labs 2022 Annual Report

The Schutter Diagnostic Laboratory (SDL) at Montana State University (MSU) is provided as a service to the citizens of Montana for plant pest identification and integrated pest management education. In 2022, the SDL conducted 2,616 plant, plant disease, insect, mushroom, and abiotic diagnoses in 51 of 56 Montana counties and Indian reservations and 4 additional states - North Carolina, North Dakota, Idaho, and Colorado.

Lentil Fertilizer Study Results

Montana State University scientists and their colleagues are sharing the results of a three-year study examining the importance of inoculant and sulfur fertilizer on lentil production.

Market Vegetable Farms - Soil Characteristics and Testing (pdf)

Knowing soil nutrient content and characteristics is necessary to make good fertilizer and irrigation management decisions.

Market Vegetable Farms - Soil Nitrogen and Sulfur (pdf)

Healthy soils with sufficient and balanced nutrients for plant growth are the basis for high-quality production. Managing soil fertility using plant- or animal-based materials is complex since availability of nutrients depends on biological cycles to break down materials into plant-available forms. By understanding soil characteristics and amendments (anything added to the soil), producers can select the best amendment for their goals and budgets.

Market Vegetable Farms - Soil Phosphorus, Potassium and Micronutrients (pdf)

By understanding soil characteristics and amendments, both organic and other producers can select the best amendment for their goals and budgets. Crop rotations are another tool to manage soil fertility. Crops, including covers crops, help catch and recycle P, K and micronutrients on site.

United States Drought Monitor

US Drought Information

Protecting Winter Wheat From Grasshopper Damage (pdf)

Emerging winter wheat, especially when surrounded by dry grassland, can be vulnerable to damage by grasshoppers. 

Pest Management Using Integrated Strategies

Homeowners and producers enduring occasional pest outbreaks often over-rely on chemical management strategies or react after pests can be managed effectively. Pest management using multiple methods, otherwise known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM), is a strategy combining a wide range of tactics, including biological, chemical and cultural practices to provide long term, environmentally sustainable, and economically feasible control.

Montana Seed Potato Certification Program

In Montana, certification of potatoes grown for seed is conducted by Montana State University. Certification is a voluntary program designed to encourage the production of top-quality seed potatoes through adherence to rigorous testing and inspection requirements, and through research to improve seed potato quality and testing.

Soil Sampling Tips

For successful soil sampling, you must submit a quality sample into the lab.  Below are some points to consider before heading out to soil sample.

Ag Across Montana - Podcast

As the agriculture industry continues to innovate, Ag Across Montana connects producers and industry professionals within the Big Sky State to insights that help their agribusiness thrive. 

Nitrate in Groundwater by Ward Labs

Nitrate in groundwater has been making its way into the news frequently this winter. Dr. Ray Ward discusses steps to track levels over time and ways to manage nitrate in groundwater to mitigate human health risks.

Grasshopper Management and Control in Montana

Grasshopper populations are cyclical, and when outbreaks occur, rangeland infestations may cause significant economic losses for producers by reducing forage available for their livestock, and farmers may see their entire crop decimated. 

Fertilizer Application on Frozen Ground

In Nebraska, the “Bomb Cyclone” event of March 2019 is a well-documented example of why we advise to avoid amendment application on frozen or snow-covered ground. In this event, large amounts of rain fell over much of Nebraska. Soils remained frozen, preventing the rainwater from soaking into the soil. Water ran to the low spots, taking with it any fertilizer that had been applied. An unsavory decision was made: re-apply fertility or skip it for the upcoming season. In either scenario, it would be a hit to the bottom line.


Useful Links

Montana Weed Control Association

MWCA members are dedicated to terrestrial and aquatic invasive species management. Our members include professional weed managers representing many government agencies, private and commercial applicators, non-governmental organizations and concerned citizens. Our goal is to facilitate long-term, ecologically based, integrated noxious weed management programs throughout Montana.

Crop MontGuides and Alerts

Personal Protective Equipment for Pesticide Applicators

The purpose of this publication is to instruct pesticide applicators to use proper PPE, including how to read the product label, understand chemically-resistant materials and types of PPE, how to clean PPE, and best practices to reduce exposure. By understanding these factors, pesticide applicators can purchase the proper PPE at local chemical distributors, agricultural suppliers, hardware stores, or online safety retailers.

Water Productivity of Montana Crops

Crop water productivity (CWP) can be defined as the amount of additional grain or biomass a crop can produce for each added increment of water use. It can be used to estimate yield potential of various crops for the coming season, which helps growers evaluate different crop rotations.

Cover Crops as Partial Replacement for Summer Fallow

Cover crops are one tool to improve soil health and long-term agricultural sustainability, especially when grown in place of fallow. This MontGuide summarizes the information in the MSU Extension bulletins Cover Crops: Soil Health, Cover Crops: Management for Organic Matter and Nitrogen, and Cover Crops: Soil Water and Small Grain Yield and Protein. See those bulletins for more details and all references. Our focus is on covers planted as partial fallow replacement in dryland systems of the northern Great Plains.

Chickpea Production

Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) is an annual grain legume or ‘pulse crop’ sold as human food. Commercial types include large Kabuli, small Kabuli, and Desi. Chickpea production has significantly increased in the U.S. over the past 5 years with 96,000 acres harvested in Montana in 2016 and with acreage projected to increase.

Water Rights in Montana: An Overview

All water in Montana is owned by the State for the benefit of its people. Individual water users have the right to use the waters of the State if they hold or are covered under a valid water right. A basic understanding of water rights is essential for people who want to play a part in the effective management of water resources.

Pathogenic Nematodes of Wheat and Barley

Root lesion and cereal cyst nematodes are microscopic roundworms that parasitize agricultural crops in every part of the world. Take the steps outlined here to recognize infestation, assess potential damage and protect crops.

Wheat Midge

The wheat midge is widely distributed throughout Europe and Asia and has long been recognized in many parts of North America. However, it has only recently developed into a serious insect pest of spring wheat in Montana.

Aphids of Economic Importance in Montana

This publication is a general identification guide for aphids found in Montana that can have an economic impact on crops. It includes pictorial keys of economic aphids by crop and species, and details on aphid pests for grain, alfalfa, potato and soybean crops.

Many other MontGuides can be found on the MSU Extension website.