Guest Speakers At Ag Summit Will Address Weather, Livestock And Irrigation Topics, Dec. 12, Sidney

Local research results ready to roll out in your fields will be featured at the upcoming third annual MonDak Ag Research Summit in Sidney, Thursday December 12. But that’s not all. Several outside speakers are also planned to address timely questions producers have on our long term erratic weather patterns (10 inches of rain in September!) and what it means for spring planting, as well as feeding weather damaged grain to livestock, and tips on managing irrigation equipment.

Addressing the first two issues is Dr. Kevin Hyde, coordinator of the Montana Mesonet for the Montana Climate Office, Dr. Hyde builds out and maintains a statewide network of climate monitoring stations. He works directly with producers and managers to develop and implement education programs to grow understanding in how to use weather and soil moisture data to support agricultural decisions. Based out of the University of Montana in Missoula, Kevin currently teaches undergraduate coursework in Watershed Hydrology. Dr. Hyde will also address measurement and interpretation of soil moisture data and be available throughout the day to chat with participants.

Addressing livestock feeding of damaged grain is Dr. Janna (Kincheloe) Block, a Melstone, MT native, who served as a County Extension Agent in western Montana for several years after graduating from Montana State University. She has a Ph.D. in Ruminant Nutrition from South Dakota State University and has served as a North Dakota State University Extension Livestock Specialist based out of the Hettinger Research Extension Center since January of 2017. Her program there focuses on development and demonstration of livestock management strategies to optimize various production systems. Specific topics include feed sampling and analysis, ration formulation, mineral supplementation, and livestock business management. She also raises commercial Limousin cattle with her husband Ross on their family ranch near Midland, SD.

Of course, irrigation issues are another topic of continual interest in the MonDak, and one, which will be addressed by Dr. Tom Scherer, Extension Agricultural Engineer and Associate Professor at North Dakota State University. Dr. Scherer has extensive experience with irrigation, water quality and subsurface drainage in the upper Great Plains and will be discussing scheduling and machine maintenance at the Summit. He has developed numerous educational aids, bulletins, circulars, demonstration units and also edits a monthly irrigation newsletter. He has performed over 300 irrigation pumping plant efficiency tests and checked the uniformity of numerous center pivot sprinkler packages and has also helped develop four irrigation-scheduling applications including a GIS-based web application on the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network (NDAWN) website.

Other guest speakers (TBD) will address the new American Harvest, Inc. CBD oil plant being developed in Sidney, along with Dr. Chengci Chen, Superintendent of the MSU Eastern Ag Research Center in Sidney, who will report on his research into hemp as a new crop option. Also planned is a special session for “urban farmers” with guidance planned in garden composting and propagation tips for house plants.

The Summit runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Richland County Fairgrounds Event Center in Sidney, MT and is organized by the MonDak area’s three ag research facilities – North Dakota State University’s Williston Research and Extension Center, Montana State University’s Eastern Ag Research Center in Sidney, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Northern Plains Ag Research Lab, also in Sidney. The collaborative program focuses on “ready to use” research findings by the more than 20 scientists employed at the three facilities who have expertise in irrigated and dryland agronomy, plant pathology, soil science, plant and insect ecology, molecular biology, weed and insect biocontrol, and much more!

Sponsors for the event include the City of Williston, Sidney Sugars, Inc., Agri Industries, Montana-Dakota Beet Growers Association, American Harvest, Inc, and Cargill in Great Falls.

New Irrigation and Horticulture Programs

This year’s Summit includes a new program structure with concurrent sessions targeting irrigated and dryland research in the morning and a new horticulture session and general ag talks in the afternoon. Altogether, 24 different research presentations are planned, along with two poster sessions featuring another 2 dozen ongoing research projects at the three host facilities. The researchers on those projects will be on hand to answer questions regarding their work.

Research talks include:

9:05 a.m .: Guest Speaker – Dr. Kevin Hyde, Montana Climate Office, University of Montana – Monitoring Change: Now and Ahead

Irrigated Session:

9:30 a.m .: Guest Speaker – Dr. Tom Scherer, NDSU-Fargo – Irrigation Scheduling and Irrigation Machine Maintenance

10 a.m .: Tyler Tjelde – Nesson Valley Research Overview

10:15 a.m .: Apurba Sutradhar – Micronutrient Additions for Sugarbeet

10:30 a.m .: Poster Session

11 a.m .: Tyler Tjelde - Effects of Sugarbeet Factory Spent Lime on Soil Crop Production in a Crop Rotation of Wheat and Sugarbeet

11:15 a.m .: Chengci Chen – Economics and Yield and Protein Totals for Irrigated Pea Study with ARS

11:30 a.m .: Audrey Kalil – White Mold in Soybean

11:45 a.m .: Bart Stevens – Irrigated Soybean Management

Dryland Session: (concurrent with Irrigated program)

9:30 a.m .: Clair Keene – Kernza: A New Dual Use Crop for the MonDak

9:45 a.m .: Bill Franck – Pea Protein: Variety and Treatment Differences

10 a.m .: Frankie Crutcher – Fusarium Avenaceum Control in Pea from Scabby Grain

10:30 a.m .: Poster Session

11 a.m .: Brett Allen - Dryland Perennial Grass Response to N Fertilizer Application

11:15 a.m .: Tim Fine - Corn Grazing Demonstration Project

11:30 a.m .: Gautam Pradhan – Application of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Small Plot Experiments

11:45 a.m .: Meredith Miller – New Dryland Crop Varieties

Noon: Lunch with Guest Speaker – Dr. Kevin Hyde, Measuring and Interpreting Soil Moisture Data and Estimates of Plant Available Water

1:10 p.m .: Guest Speaker – Dr. Janna Block, NDSU-Hettinger, Utilization of Weather-Damaged Grain for Livestock

Horticulture Session:

1:30 p.m .: Rojee Pradhan – Plant Propagation Workshop

2 p.m .: Bill Iversen – Outdoor Composting Techniques

2:20 p.m .: Deb Waters – Kitchen Waste Composting

2:40 p.m .: Composting Q&A

General Ag Session: (concurrent with Horticulture program)

1:30 p.m .: Tatyana Rand – Can Cover Crops Increase the Efficacy of Wheat Stem Sawfly Biocontrol?

1:45 p.m .: Tim Fine – Demonstration: NDSU Projected Crop Budget Software

2 p.m .: Poster Session

2:20 p.m .: CEO John Piracha - American Harvest, Inc. Overview

2:35 p.m .: Chengci Chen – Hemp Research at EARC

2:50 p.m .: Wrapup

Free Lunch, Door Prizes and More

A free lunch from Famous Dave’s in Williston is provided for all participants. Door prizes are also planned. Pesticide and continuing education credits are pending.

Those interested in attending can preregister online at or by calling or emailing Beth Redlin at 406-433-9427 or [email protected]. Note, preregistration is encouraged, but not required.


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