(Updated 4-26-23) MonDak Ag Days Recap

(Updated 4-26-23)

MonDak Ag Days was held Thursday and Friday, March 2 and 3, at the Richland County Event Center.

A recap of the events held:

Weiland Presented “Drainage Tiles

Dos and Don’ts

MonDak Ag Days kicked off Thursday morning, March 2 with the trade show opening at 8 a.m.

“Drainage Tiles Dos and Don’ts.”

Jerry Weiland is the Midwest and Western region salesman for Fratco. Prior to that he spent numerous years serving the people of South Dakota and Nebraska with Hefty Seed. He has extensive experience in agribusiness and economics.

Tile drainage is a form of agricultural drainage system that removes excess sub-surface water from fields to allow sufficient air space within the soil, proper cultivation, and access by heavy machinery to tend and harvest crops. It’s a type of agricultural plumbing. The excess water from the soil is moved by the force of gravity down in the soil profile and allows the needed air into the soil for proper plant root development and provide an environment for a host of biology necessary to support that plant life. Tiling is particularly important in places across the Midwest that historically were covered in wetlands. The area where fertilizer are most condensed and are lost from the field is through erosion when water runs over the top of the ground. Other valuable items lost are chemicals for weed control and organic material. These are all costly items to replace and aid in growing better crops. Farmers definitely want to keep as much of that in their fields as possible. Phosphorus is only moderately soluble and, compared to nitrate, are not very mobile in soils or groundwater. Drainage tile helps reduce toxic algae blooms in lakes by allowing soil to act as a filter thus reducing the amount of nutrients in the drained water. Those blooms rob the water of oxygen and can suffocate and harm the aquatic life. Efforts are underway to address these effects.

Weiland engaged the advice from the start. He said, “What are your drainage tile problems?” The clinic was spent brainstorming solutions.

Getting More “Bang For Your

Fertilizer Buck”

The second session of MonDak Ag Days was “Getting More Bang for your Fertilizer Buck” presented by MSU Assistant Research Professor Manbir Rakkar.

Dr. Rakkar’s research aims to resolve soil issues using interdisciplinary approaches. Currently she is focused on preventing, mitigating, and adapting to soil acidification in Montana. Her presentation goal was to discuss an increase in fertilizer use efficiency, decrease crop loss, and prevent soil acidity. Most agriculture soils in our state are near neutral to basic with a surface soil ph of 6.5 to 8. However, fields with crop losses due to soil acidification have been found in 24 Montana counties, including Roosevelt County.

Prussic Acid In Livestock

The 3rd session for the MonDak Ag Days was titled “Prussic Acid in Livestock”.

Presented by Richland County MSU extension agent Marley Manoukian.

Manoukian helps producers and home gardeners with plant and insect identification and plant disease diagnosis. She assists with soil, water, and forage quality analysis, in-house nitrate testing, and can provide the Private Application Training program for producers interested in becoming licensed to use restricted use pesticides.

Manoukian grew up in Malta, MT. “I welcome any and all questions regarding horticulture and agriculture, and if I don’t know the answer, I will gladly find out,” she said. It was discovered in the early 1900s that under certain conditions, sorghum is capable of releasing hydrocyanic acid (or prussic acid), which makes them potentially dangerous for grazing. Since there is no treatment for prussic acid poisoning in cattle, prevention is the best Medicine. It is important to know that young plants contain more prussic acid than older plants, stress such as drought or freeze produces higher prussic acid, there is more in the leaves than the stems, and sun curing of hay will reduce prussic acid, especially if the hay is crimped. Prussic acid poisoning can cause death in cattle. Early signs are excitement, rapid pulse, muscle tremors, rapid or labored breathing, pink fluid in the music membranes, and cherry red blood. Our goal is to prevent prussic acid poisoning,” said Manoukian.

Updates To Medically Important Antibiotics

The 4th session of the MonDak Ag Days was “Updates to Medically Important Antibiotics” presented by Gary Schieber.

Schieber has lived in Sidney since 2004, and is a High Plains Veterinary Clinic, veterinarian.

Schieber began by stating that some antibiotics have been available over-the-counter for many years. However, starting June 11, 2023, all antibiotics will require a veterinary prescription. “This has been in the works by the FDA for many years,” said Schieber. Some common antibiotics ranchers will no longer be able to easily purchase include: oxytetracycline, sulfamethazine, procaine penicillin, tylosin, erythromycin, and lincomycin. Does this mean ranchers need to get a new prescription every time they get a sick animal? The short answer is: no. A veterinarian can write a prescription for a herd as long as they are familiar with the operation and make routine visits as to have a working knowledge of the operation. “There must be a valid client-patient-relationship,” said Schieber. He also discussed efforts to slow antimicrobial resistance in animals.

Cattle Market Update

The 5th session of MonDak Ag Days was called the “Cattle Market Update” presented by Katelyn McCullock, Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) director and senior agriculture economist.

LMIC’s mission is to provide timely and comprehensive livestock marketing resources through cooperation. It has provided economic analysis and market projections concerning the livestock industry since 1955. She has expertise in the cattle, hog, dairy, hay and grain sectors covering market analysis and outlook. McCullock has published through a variety of channels market analysis, research, and new articles. She has been a frequent presenter on the national and regional levels, as well as through rural media outlets. McCullock has worked in the Farm Credit System as well as in Washington, DC, for American Farm Bureau Federation on livestock related agriculture policy topics.

“I don’t believe you will see a price break on hay until this summer,” said McCollock. Fed cattle prices in 2023 are raised on firm demand and lighter carcass weights. The import forecast for 2023 is raised on early customs and import inspection data to 3.4 billion lbs. Export projections for 2023 are unchanged at 3.1 million lbs.

MonDak Ag Days Banquet

The 2023 MonDak Ag Days banquet was held Thursday, March 2 at the Sidney Elks Club served by the Sidney High School FFA chapter.

“Each of us can be a voice for agriculture,” began Jay Bodner, keynote speaker, who was named 2022 Outstanding Agricultural Leader on behalf of the MSU College of Agriculture. His family runs a ranch near Rainsford, MT. He continued, “Agriculture is the #1 industry in Montana, and a recent American Farm Bureau survey said that 88% of Americans trust farmers. I think that is an accurate depiction of what we do. Visitors are enthralled by what we do to earn the title of farmer and rancher.” He discussed how it is beneficial for those in the agriculture industry to network. His advice continued; Learn about what is going on in your community and participate. Be the agricultural advocate. Get involved at the local level. Join the Sidney groups such as the Montana Stockgrowers Association or the Farm Bureau Association. Visit with other farmers about techniques. See if there is an easier way to do things. “Be polite, be professional, and be prepared to network with other groups,” said Bodner. “You can engage in being an advocate at the Montana legislature and U.S. Congress. The agriculture industry is a passion and a lifestyle. It’s a resilient community that works hard to feed the world. Be proud of what you do.

”Farm Bill, Crop Budget, & Agriculture Update

The first speaker on Friday morning was Ron Haugen, NDSU farm management specialist. The session was titled “Farm Bill, Crop Budget and Agriculture Update”. “We all know input costs are rising, but what can we do to ease the financial burden?” began Haugen. He then explained that all are welcome to use the NDSU farm bill calculator. “This is an online tool for producers to help determining the price loss coverage election,” explained Haugen.

Haugen also spoke about the opinions expressed in the North Dakota Farmers Union farm bill discussion session that took place last June. They emphasized the parts of the farm bill they appreciated (crop insurance, price loss coverage/agriculture risk coverage decision making, and plant abuse prevention, and also discussed areas of concern (inflation, higher input costs, supply shortages, and labor shortages.). Haugen ended by explaining that we need to continue to be a voice for agriculture.  “Twenty-five percent of the Senate and half of the House have never voted on a farm bill. Some don’t even know what the farm bill is,” said Haugen.

Value Added Ag Opportunities

The 2023 MonDak Ag Days 11 a.m. Friday session was titled “Value Added Ag Opportunities”, presented by Hailey Vine.

Vine is the Great Northern Development Corporation food and ag development center director.

Value added agriculture is the production of a product in a manner that enhances its value. “People will pay more for locally made, and that continues the cycle to support your economy, especially in smaller rural communities. Agritourism is as value added as you can get because you are using your land and making it work for you,” explained Vine. Agri-tourism events can be things like participating in a farmers market, giving farm tours, stargazing tours, historical walks and hikes, dino-digs and pedal-to-plate rides.

Pedal-to-plate is an event where participants bicycle to different farms for different activities such as tasting different foods, seeing different animals, etc. Vine also explained that there are also grants available. “The Value Added Producer” grant is due the middle of May, and it is intended to help with processing costs and marketing and advertising expenses,” said Vine. There is also a “Growth Through Agriculture” grant, a marketing development program, and more. Contact Vine for more information at [email protected] or 406-643-2590 extension 201.

On April 11 in Glendive, and April 13 in Glasgow, there will be a “Homegrown to Market” workshop. To register, email Tara at [email protected].

Vine then discussed the benefit of the “Made in Montana” program. “If you can, apply to the Made in Montana program so that you can include that label on your merchandise. Those not in the Ag community really pay attention to those specific labels,” explained Vine.

Vine is originally from South Dakota. She and her husband live in Circle, MT.

Pre-Emergent Herbicides & Modes Of Action

The final session of the 2023 MonDak Ag Days was titled “Pre-emergent Herbicides and Modes of Action”. It was presented by Charlie Lim, NDSU Extension Office weed specialist, Williston.

Lim grew up in the Philippines. His family raised rice. He studied at MSU in Bozeman and became a weed scientist. Lim develops innovative extension programs that help producers in the ag industry identify, assess, and control weeds. He also communicates with other extension specialists, appropriate research extension center personnel, and producers about issues that need new or additional research.

The main topic of his talk was about the weed Kochia. Kochia can be difficult to manage because of its ability to spread and quickly reestablish itself, particularly in a time of drought.


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