Agricultural Field Day


Duane Peters, Sidney Sugars, Inc. describes seed varieties and gives sugar beet outlook for 2014.

The Montana State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Extension Service held their 34th annual Field Day in Sidney on Thursday July 24th. The event capped 100 years of dedicated service by the MSU Extension Office. The employee's of the extension office have dedicated their careers to identifying diseases and improving the production of the crops grown in Montana.

Our unique growing conditions present many challenges and opportunities to the agricultural community. The scientists at each of the seven research centers located around the state conduct experiments designed to develop seeds that are able to increase the productivity of the agricultural industry in Montana. These experiments have generated a quantifiable return on investment, as agriculture remains the number one industry in our state.

Senator Matt Rosendale and Representative Scott Staffanson were in attendance as the scientists presented their work. The tests ranged from techniques which use seed manipulation to strengthen wheat stems to withstand high winds prior to harvest, to growing crops in such a fashion as to disrupt the reproductive cycles of the problematic insects thereby reducing crop damage.

Additional experiments have assisted the agricultural community into developing crops, which can be grown in a rotation with their traditional crops such as sugar beets or wheat. Many times, by changing the crop which has been grown in the same location for many years, the farmer may improve the soil conditions and reduce the presence of disease and insects that have slowly been reducing their production and profits.

Always of interest is the marketability of any new crops. Soybeans have shown to be a good rotation in both dryland wheat and irrigated fields. They deposit nitrogen back into the soil and have been highly successful as a tool to help with weed management. Several local producers have found that they have ready access to markets making soybeans a nice addition to their crop rotation.

Duane Peters, Agronomist for Sidney Sugars, Inc. spoke about the different varieties of sugar beets and gave a brief outlook for the current sugar beet crop. At present he estimates an average of just over 29 tons per acre of beets to be harvested in the fall. This is greater than any of the other regions and more than two tons an acre greater than the previous record of 27 tons per acre set in our area. The producers must still keep an eye to the global sugar markets and the production in Mexico more particularly as that can have huge impact on the actual value of their crop.

Sen. Matt Rosendale and Representative Scott Staffanson listen intently from farm wagons as the tour progresses through the different crops.


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