The Roundup -

Innovative Dryland Farmer Kicks Off ARS Brownbagger Series Friday


Building soil quality isn’t an easy task on the semi-arid prairies of Montana and North Dakota or neighboring Saskatchewan, Canada. But that hasn’t stopped Jered Axten, an enterprising dryland farmer at Minton, Saskatchewan, from working with “Mother Nature to improve soil health” on his farm.

Axten will be in Sidney Fri. to discuss the techniques he uses to improve profitability on his dryland operation “by caring for our soil and reducing our dependence on synthetic inputs.” He is the opening speaker in the USDA-Agricultural Research Service Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory’s 14th annual winter BrownBagger series at noon on Fri., Jan. 15.

This special kickoff presentation for NPARL’s 2016 BrownBagger series will be held in the lab’s Tech Transfer Room this Friday from noon to 1:30 p.m. The lab is located at 1500 N. Central Avenue in Sidney, MT.

Axten will be discussing the many techniques he’s using to build soil health and reduce input costs on his farm, including diverse rotations, intercropping and cover crops. In describing his operation, Axten notes that he “grows durum, rye, and oats” for his main cereal crops and uses flax/chickpea, mustard/lentil, and canola/pea as intercrops. “We also grow some mono crop lentils, faba beans, and fenugreek,” he added.

The cover crops he uses are “always different, but always diverse,” Axten says, adding that they are typically “tailored to fill the gaps in a rotation.”

To learn more about how his efforts are paying off on the Canadian prairie, join us this coming Friday at NPARL. Bring your lunch. We’ll provide the dessert.

And several more engaging talks are planned for our remaining 2016 BrownBaggers. A sampling of upcoming topics and speakers for the next two months include:

A discussion of improved techniques for restoring damaged grasslands by Miles City ARS Rangeland Management Specialist Matt Rinella (Jan. 29)

A talk and demonstration of 3-D printing by Brian McGinnis with Exdivio Solutions, Inc. in Sidney (Feb. 12)

A discussion on sugarbeet and weeds by NDSU Asst. Professor and Extension Agronomist Tom Peters of Fargo. (Feb. 26)

For questions or more information on the 2016 series, contact Beth Redlin at 406-433-9427 or [email protected]


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