MonDak Research Summit

Producers hear the latest research at the Sidney ARS, EARC field day last summer. Research scientists and Extension agents from Montana and North Dakota will speak at the 3rd annual MonDak Ag Research Summit on Dec. 12.

SIDNEY, Mont. – Extension agents and research scientists from both Montana and North Dakota will be on hand for the 3rd annual MonDak Ag Research Summit, which will be held at the Richland County Fairgrounds on Thursday, Dec. 12, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., in Sidney, Mont.

The agenda for the summit includes discussions on: irrigation management, unmanned aerial vehicles, outdoor composting, cover crop and crop budget software, a corn grazing project and much more.

Janna Block, NDSU Hettinger Research Center animal scientist will be the guest speaker at 1:10 p.m., talking about the utilization of weather-damaged grain for livestock.

“We had such a challenging growing and harvesting year, and with the excessive moisture there were quality issues, such as falling numbers and vomitoxin,” Block said. “Before producers feed spoiled grain, we are encouraging that they screen and test it for mycotoxins, mold or other problems that could lower its nutritional level before feeding it to their livestock.”

Block said there are different levels of mold or toxins that can be in grains, depending on the livestock, so screening, testing, and if needed, talking with your Extension agent, is the best way to go.

“Producers are scrambling to find enough forages to feed this winter and we had challenges not only with crops, but with our forages,” she said. “Extension is estimating 50 percent of forages are still out in the fields, and the bottoms may have mold.”

Grain, hay and other forages may have quality issues or toxins, and all need to be sampled, screened and tested before feeding.

Wet corn, cut or chopped, may have more moisture than in a normal year.

“Producers should account for added moisture before feeding. Wet corn is not a one-for-one exchange with dry corn,” Block added.

The summit will have numerous topics.

“As 2019 nears a close, farmers and ranchers have a lot of questions: What’s the deal with this weather? What do we need to brace for next? What about disease, such as white mold? Fusarium? And what about new crop options to help battle low prices, such as kernza or hemp? How do we manage them, and what about markets? We’ll talk about all this and much more,” said Beth Redlin, ARS Sidney.

The summit has been 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 program focuses on “ready to use” research findings by the more than 20 scientists at the three facilities.

New irrigation, 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.

“We will have a presentation on local hemp research and one by representatives from American Harvest, Inc., the new CBD oil plant being developed in Sidney,” Redlin said.

There will be talks on climate trends and influences, and what to expect next spring by Kevin Hyde of the Montana Climate Office, University of Montana. Hyde will also present “measuring and interpreting soil moisture data” during lunch.

Tom Scherer, NDSU associate professor and Extension engineer, will open the new irrigation session with a discussion on proper irrigation scheduling and machine maintenance.

Some 24 different research presentations are planned throughout the day, along with two poster sessions featuring ongoing research projects at the three host facilities.

The researchers on those projects will be on hand to answer questions regarding their work.

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.

Free lunch, door prizes

A free lunch from Famous Dave’s in Williston is provided for all participants, along with door prizes.

Pesticide and continuing education credits are pending.

Pre-registration is encouraged, but not required.

Those interested in attending can pre-register online at or by calling or emailing Beth Redlin at 406-433-9427 or

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