Agriculture & Home Environment
The Sweet Grass County Extension office can help you with:
- Livestock and Cropping Questions
- Noxious Weed ID and Recommendations
- Plant ID and Disease Diagnosis
- Pest/Rodent Questions
- Private Pesticide Applicator Licensing and Training
- Forage Nitrate and Analysis Testing
- Weed Seed Free Hay Certifications
- Soil Testing
- On-site Consultations
Farm and Ranch Estate and Transition Planning in Southwest Montana
Do you have a Transition Plan for your Farm/Ranch and an Estate Plan for yourself?
This is part of a series of articles and workshops that MSU Extension is presenting in Sweet Grass, Park and Gallatin Counties. The goals of this program are to get multiple generations in the room to hear messages, increase knowledge and participate in activities at each workshop to help in transition planning. Participants are encouraged to commit to the entire program in terms of the workshops. The program is designed to be fluid to try and understand and present the information that would be of the most benefit to participants. Hopefully, the program will help to improve interpersonal interactions and communications across generations. Working through this program all generations should understand the current situation and what plans may or may not be in place for their operations. The program will work to help identify business transition goals and estate planning goals. The program will also assist operators in taking steps toward achieving business transition and estate planning goals and help participants to begin or complete a transition plan and an estate plan.
There will be three, three-hour workshops presented in each county during the months of October, December and April. There will also be one full day workshop in February in Park County. The first workshop in Sweet Grass County is scheduled for November 12th at 6:00 pm in the evening. It would be helpful for planning purposes if you would RSVP to the Sweet Grass County Extension Office at (406) 932-5146 or email@example.com.
The snow came to visit Montana plenty early again this year. If you are one of the gardeners that are already wishing for more growing opportunities the Montana State University Extension Service and Montana PBS have developed a new educational video series. This new video series focuses on how to start and maintain a small fruit or tree fruit orchard, how to best distribute crops or create value-added products, and resources on marketability and business practices for small orchard and vegetable farmers. There are ten short videos in the series. The topics are; Growing Berries in Montana: many varieties of berries can be grown in Montana. This video will discuss best practices for starting a berry orchard and planning a successful business from your crop, as well as, the best ways to manage pests.
Business planning: Growing specialty crops in Montana can be a fun and profitable venture if you take the time to plan out your business from start to finish.
Food Safety: Food safety is critical when planning your business and must be addressed every step of the way.
Grafting Apple Trees: Grafting is a necessary step in order to produce apple trees that bear the type of cultivar you want, as well as, give you the resilient traits needed to survive Montana’s harsh climate.
Specialty Crops in Montana: Specialty crops can be grown on small acreage and be highly profitable. This series will introduce you to different specialty crops that can be grown in Montana and how to plan a successful business around them.
Orchard Management: Managing an orchard is an ongoing challenge that needs special consideration at different times throughout the season. This video will give you tips on best practices for orchard management.
Pest Management in Fruit Trees: People aren’t the only ones that enjoy specialty crops. A variety of pests will also eat or attack your crops if you don’t take steps to manage them. This video discusses the main pests you will face when growing tree fruit in Montana.
Planting Fruit Trees: This video covers the best practices for planting fruit trees from making sure your trees are delivered in proper condition to ensuring they are planted at the right depth.
Pruning Fruit Trees: Fruit trees need to be pruned in order to produce a high-quality yield. This video shows you how to properly prune fruit trees.
Growing Vegetables in Montana: Many varieties of vegetables can be grown in Montana. This video discusses best practices for starting a vegetable farm and planning a successful business from your crop. So, don’t let the recent snows get you down. Go to https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAIkOOshMfC7UJOOKdH8aI-6nU9rELLZc and take a look at this video series and start planning for your next growing season.
Many agents have fielded questions about blue-green algae and harmful algal blooms regarding stock tanks and ponds. For cattle and other animals including pets, we would be concerned with blue-green algae (also called cyanobacteria), which is often confused with green algae. A harmful algal bloom (HAB) occurs when blue-green algae releases toxins, which can impact neuro and liver function and can kill animals. Warm, stagnant, and nutrient-rich water provides ideal conditions for such outbreaks.
We are approaching the end of the algae growth season for this year, but it is a good time to think about nutrient management around stock ponds to reduce algae growth next year.
We are working with partners to put together updated information on algae blooms and HABs for distribution before next summer and are looking into adding this as a topic for ag agent update next year.
There is a state program to help with identification of potential HABs issues that is administered by Montana Dept. of Public Health and Human Services and the Montana Dept. of Environmental Quality. Anyone can submit a photo of an algae bloom to the website and it will be evaluated for potential presence of blue-green algae. If blue-green algae is present, follow up testing for the presence of the toxin is available at no cost.
MT HABs Website: https://dphhs.mt.gov/publichealth/epidemiology/hab
Adam Sigler, Extension Water Quality Associate Specialist
Tommy Bass, Extension Livestock Environment Associate Specialist
Here are some additional resources:
Popular press referencing NDSU: https://www.beefmagazine.com/nutrition/be-watchful-toxic-blue-green-algae-stock-ponds
NDSU Extension Pub V1136: https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/livestock/cyanobacteria-poisoning-blue-green-algae
Kansas State Extension: https://www.ksre.k-state.edu/news/stories/2019/07/blue-green-algae-in-farm-ponds.html
Dogs and HABs
- EPA’s Video Protect Your Pooch from Harmful Algal Blooms
- Algae Veterinarian Card for Animals
- Dogs and Harmful Algal Blooms