Beth Redlin

Beth Redlin, ARS communications, left, makes sure ARS field days in Sidney run as smoothly as possible.

While the Froid Research Farm won’t be having in-person dryland field days in 2020, that is not stopping them from getting research and pest and agronomic information out to producers.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our regular Froid Research Farm Field Days have been cancelled for 2020,” said Beth Redlin, ARS communications. “However, we are posting some research and weed identification workshop recordings on our website for producers.”

In addition, the joint Sidney Dryland Field Day with Sidney ARS and Montana State University’s Eastern Agricultural Research Center (EARC) has been cancelled for this year. When it returns in 2021, it will be scheduled as an every other year event.

MSU-EARC will not have its irrigated field day, normally held in July, as well. All MSU research centers have cancelled field days.

The webinars are planned to provide producers with important information on range and cropland weeds in the eastern Montana/northwestern North Dakota region.

Tim Fine, Richland County Extension agent, will present “Palmer Amaranth Identification and Management and Herbicide Resistant Weeds.” He also presented the information last year at field days.

“Palmer amaranth is resistant to a lot of herbicides, such as glyphosate,” Fine said, who will discuss how to identify Palmer amaranth and distinguish it from other pigweed species to prevent the introduction of the weed into Montana, and what to do if a producer finds a suspicious weed in the field that they believe could be Palmer amaranth.

“It is a big issue. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Palmer is a serious pest of crops in the southern U.S. primarily, but it is making its way north and west,” he continued. “It is a really problematic weed that grows very fast and is difficult to control.”

Fine will also discuss steps to prevent herbicide resistance, a known trait in Palmer amaranth in other parts of the country.

“Applying herbicides before the weed emerges is more effective than trying to control weeds with herbicides after it has started growing,” Fine said.

Fine will also address other herbicide-resistant weeds that have already been identified in eastern Montana.

Kim Mann, ARS biological science technician, will present “Noxious Weed Identification: Present and Potential Invaders,” which includes tips on identifying noxious rangeland weeds commonly found in the region.

Mann has more than 30 years of experience with weed identification and bio control. She will also discuss locally listed weeds such as baby’s breath, currently considered a noxious weed in Richland County.

In addition, Redlin plans to post three short slide presentations, introducing three new ARS scientists.

There will also be three introductory research reports, fairly short, talking about ongoing research.

Tatyana Rand, ARS research ecologist, will discuss the effects of shifting rainfall levels on wheat stem sawfly and its biological control.

“We are trying to find out if drought or moisture influences the wheat stem sawfly,” Rand said. Research has shown the wheat stem sawfly does not do well in years of high rainfall or in severe drought.

Jay Jabro, ARS research soil scientist, will speak on “Previous Crop Root Effects on Soil Compaction,” and Upendra Sainju will present “Soil Chemical Properties with Long-Term Cropping Sequence and Nitrogen Fertilization.”

“We will also have a Mormon cricket identification sheet from Robert Srygley, ARS research ecologist, providing tips for identifying early Mormon cricket instars,” Redlin said.

As soon as Redlin receives the Mormon cricket information, it will be posted to the website.