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MonDak Ag Research Summit Summary


December 6, 2017 | View PDF

Research scientists discuss plant pathology during a small group discussion with attendees.

The MonDak Ag Research Summit was held November 15th at the Richland County Event Center in Sidney. Agricultural scientists and researchers from the NDSU Williston Research Extension Center, MSU Eastern Agricultural Research Center, and USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Lab presented current and past research results.

The presentations included management strategies that can save both dryland and irrigated growers time and money. The topics presented at the MonDak Ag Research Summit were Planting Fusarium Headlight Contaminated Seed, Effect of Seed Treatments for Control of Rhizoctonia Root Rot of Sugarbeets, Biological Control of the Wheat Stem Sawfly, Microbial Control of Wheat Stem Sawfly, Update on Invasive Weeds and Biocontrol, Soil Health in Diverse Dryland Cropping Systems, Irrigated Cropping Sequence with Sugarbeets and Soybeans, Pulse Crop Variety Performance, Small Grain Varieties for Irrigated Production, Small Grain Varieties for Dryland Production, High Tunnel Vegetable Production, and Grasshopper Outbreak Prediction.

Audrey Kalil, Plant Pathologist at the Williston Research Center, talked about the effects of planting Fusarium-infected seed in a field. Some solutions for increasing yields of infected crops are to clean seed, check germination rate, treat with fungicide, adjust planting population based on germination of seeds, or avoid planting Fusarium-infected seed with high levels of Deoxynivalenol (DON).

Frankie Crutcher, Plant Pathologist at the Eastern Agricultural Research Center, discussed the effects of Rhizoctonia Root Rot on Sugarbeets and the effects seed treatments have on the disease. Rhizoctonia Root Rot is a disease caused by a fungus and is one of the most damaging sugar beet diseases nationwide that is common in the MonDak area. Crutcher's research included effects of planting date, maturity on disease incidence, and severity of durum in Eastern Montana. She also displayed posters that showcased information/research about the development of a non-destructive pulse seed DNA extraction methodology for disease diagnostic and breeding applications.

Tatyana Rand, Research Entomologist a part of the Pest Management Research Unit at the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Lab in Sidney, presented a PowerPoint on biological control of the wheat stem sawfly. The wheat stem sawfly is known to be one of the most destructive pests in wheat production in Montana. The pest is responsible for an annual loss of an estimated $25 to $30 million. Rand discussed research on wheat stem sawfly and how to implement and evaluate management tactics against the pest to decrease crop losses. She also presented a poster board about the effects of grassland habitats on wheat stem sawfly infestations and biological control.

Don Tanaka, retired ARS scientist, spoke about soil health in diverse dryland cropping systems of the northern Great Plains. Tanaka presented information on how to increase organic matter of the soil, increase biomass production, maintain good soil cover, and how to use appropriate water use to different crop types. By maintaining low soil disturbance, cropping systems such as no-till will help sustain a soil cover, which will increase soil health.

Research Leader and Research Agronomist a part of the Agricultural Systems Research Unit at the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Lab, Bart Stevens discussed irrigated cropping sequence with sugarbeets and soybeans and sugarbeet response to tillage and nitrogen management. Stevens also presented a poster that included research of sugarbeet response to seed position relative to fertilizer band in a strip tillage system.

Chengci Chen, Superintendent and Cropping Systems Agronomist at the MSU Eastern Agricultural Research Center, presented the topic, Pulse Crop Variety Performance in Eastern Montana and also sugarbeet response to tillage and nitrogen management. Chen showcased a poster with Abdelaziz Nilahyane, Post Doc at the MSU Eastern Ag Research Center, about spring wheat and durum yield and quality improved by micronutrients.

Austin Link, Agronomy Research Specialist, and Tyler Tjelde, Irrigation Agronomist from the Williston Research Center talked about small cereal grain varieties for irrigated and dryland production. The talk included durum, wheat, oats, and barley. Link also presented a poster that included research about the effects of cropping sequence, ripping, and manure on pipeline reclamation in Western North Dakota.

Kyla Splichal Horticulture Research Specialist, at the Williston Research Center presented a talk on high tunnel vegetable production. High tunnels are unheated greenhouses that help producers lengthen their growing season so that they can increase profitability and productivity of their crop. Splichal performed a research project on a Rimol high tunnel for vegetable and cut flower research. The goal of the research is to inform growers when to plant, what pest management issues to expect, and to develop a communication center for North Dakota high tunnel growers. Splichal also presented a poster at the event with the topic "Hope Selections for North Dakota".

Research entomologist at the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Lab, David Branson discussed a grasshopper outbreak prediction and the understanding of grasshopper ecology at the event. Branson has been performing research on ways to prevent a grasshopper scourge by uncovering the ecology and biology underpinning grasshopper population surges. He is also researching ways to decrease the need for aerially sprayed pesticides that have been used to stop grasshopper outbreaks in the past.

MSU EARC scientist Frankie Crutcher presents the results of a sugarbeet Rhizoctonia root rot study.

During the event, lunch was served by the Meadowlark Brewing Company and sponsored by the Northern Pulse Growers Association. Throughout lunch, Brian Gion, Marketing Director of the Northern Pulse Growers Association (NPGA) talked about the 2017-2018 pulse updates on marketing and exporting of pulse crops. Dion also discussed how NPGA works as a trade association to increase pulse growers profitability through both international and domestic marketing, research, government relations, and education.

Producers from around the MonDak area that attended the event had opportunities to interact one-on-one with the local scientists and agronomists. Group discussions were held and local producers asked questions about their operation and about crop diseases. A total of 31 posters were showcased that contained information about current and past research projects performed by the agronomists. The event featured a collaboration of agricultural growers in the community that came together to familiarize themselves with the impact scientific research conducted at local research labs has on modern agriculture.


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