FARMS is an environmental matching program developed at Montana State University. It helps farm and ranch managers locate agricultural research centers with growing conditions similar to their own. Subsequently, this information allows them to identify the best adapted crops based on the environmental conditions of any farm or ranch. Additional information can be obtained by contacting the appropriate research center. Previously some managers have used information from the closest research center, not realizing that the environmental conditions there may be different from conditions they manage. Recommendations from other sources could be better. FARMS help managers select adapted technology. It help scientists find places where research is conducted under similar or contrasting conditions.

FARMS data represent 15 environmental factors, 122 research centers and 72 research programs in the Great Plains and Pacific Northwest. FARMS will match any farm or ranch with the most similar field research centers in Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wyoming, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Environmental Factors

FARMS allows you to match your farm or ranch with the most similar research center based on any combination of the following 15 environmental factors:

  • Number of days per year with temperature 0 deg. F or below.
  • Number of days per year with temperature 32 deg. F or below.
  • Number of days per year with temperature 90 deg. F or above.
  • Mean annual maximum air temperature.
  • Mean annual minimum air temperature.
  • Date of first freeze in fall.
  • Date of last freeze in spring.
  • Thornthwaite potential evapotranspiration.
  • Mean annual precipitation.
  • Mean April through July precipitation.
  • Average annual snowfall (inches).
  • Elevation in feet.
  • Soil series name.
  • A-horizon soil textural class.
  • Location (legal description or latitude and longitude).

Research Centers

The 122 research centers represented in the FARMS program conduct a total of 72 different research programs. Research programs include crops such as forages (e.g., alfalfa), oil seeds (e.g., canola), small grains (e.g., wheat), horticultural (e.g., small fruits) and pulse (e.g., lentils); and other programs such as cropping systems, livestock management, pest management and soil resources.

System Requirements

FARMS requires 1.5MB of hard drive space and Microsoft Windows 3.1. To run Windows you must have a 386 or better microprocessor, 4MB of RAM, a mouse and a VGA graphics card and monitor. FARMS requires 2MB available extended (XMS) memory to run.

More Information

Please direct questions or comments to Diana Cooksey, Department of Land Resources and Environmental Science, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, 59717, (406) 994-6034