OCR Interpretation


Montana farmer-stockman. [volume] (Great Falls, Mont.) 1947-1993, July 01, 1957, Image 19

Image and text provided by Montana Historical Society; Helena, MT

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86075096/1957-07-01/ed-1/seq-19/

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in 1935 that "the value of summer fal
low as insurance against crop failure
has been further emphasized during the
past three extremely dry seasons."
Experimental work that was to fore
shadow our present methods of sub
surface tillage and trashy fallow began
to yield positive results, and in 1931 it
was reported that "the introduction of
plowless (duckfoot) fallow has lowered
the cost of fallow 40 to 65 per cent.
Grasses, Forage Crops
In addition to research on cereal
varieties and tillage methods, work
done at Moccasin on introduced grasses
and forage crops has made a major
contribution to Montana's livestock in
dustry. They were the second station
in the U.S. to make studies of crested
wheatgrass. Work begun in 1915 has
led to the development of a highly
nutritious grass that greens up early
in the season when it is most needed
by cows and ewes for milk production.
Russian wildrye was first tested in the
U.S. at Moccasin in 1928, and has given
stockmen an excellent, drought resistant
grass for late grazing to supplement the
earlier crested wheatgrass.
Just as new developments in farm
machinery have revolutionized agricul
ture, greatly increasing crop produc
tion in recent years, so has the introduc
tion of new machinery especially de
signed for experimental work increased
the amount of research that can be car
ried on. The present staff at Moccasin
consists of two researchers. Krall and
Art Dubbs, assistant in agronomy; Dora
Barrick, clerk; two permanent field
workers, Jess Ellis and Raymond
Krumheuer, and three temporary help
ers employed for the summer. During
the 1920's the station had a staff of
five researchers and 20 permanent
workers. Krall says that today with
their small staff they are able to do
five times as much research as in the
20's.
Special Implements
A six-row seeder, special harvesting
implements, a small threshing machine
and a seed cleaner, all developed at the
station for handling the small 20-foot
plots has made this possible. The work
of compiling and evaluating the moun
tains of data would be almost impos
sible with so small a staff if it wasn't
for the calculating machine in the
office.
When you tour the experimental
plots at the Golden Anniversary cele
bration you'll see 1,207 different varie
ties of winter wheat seeded on 2,824
different plots; 2,309 spring wheat va
rieties on 3,415 plots; 72 varieties of
oats on 240 plots; 107 barley varieties
on 538 plots, and 6 varieties of corn on
54 different plots. That's a staggering
total of 3,701 varieties of grain on 7,071
Why so many different varieties
seeded on so many plots? Soil varia
tions on the station, a situation common
to most dryland farming areas in the
state, make it necessary to plant each
variety on several locations so an
average can be taken to determine the
yield. Winter wheat varieties from
Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, South
Dakota and other winter wheat states
are being tested at Moccasin to de
termine their winter hardiness and
adaptability to Montana conditions,
They're testing various strains and
crosses in an effort to develop a solid
stemmed winter wheat for the sawfly
areas. New varieties and crosses from
the breeding laboratories are being
tested for milling and baking qualities
and adaptability. They're looking for
plots. In addition, there are plantings
of forage crops, shelterbelts, garden
crops and ornamental plants.
Research Information
strains resistant to dwarf smut and
wheat streak mosaic.
New barley crosses are being tested,
and there is promise of finding a high
er yielding variety than Compana with
taller straw.
Oats, Corn Varieties
They're looking for strains of oats
that are more resistant to shattering,
Early, medium and late maturing hy
brid corn is being raised to obtain data
on dryland forage production.
In fertilizer trials various combina
tions and rates of application are
studied. Herbicides for weed control
and chemical fallow are being tested.
Response to various tillage methods
are under observation. To develop a
good dryland pasfhre mixture, 17
va
rieties of grass are being clipped every
15 days and analyzed for protein con
tent at various stages of maturity.
Cereals are being seeded in wide rows
and cultivated like corn, the hope being
to find a method of handling the soils
in central Montana that would more ef
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fectively and efficiently deal with the
problems of wind erosion than the pres
ent strip cropping and trashy fallow
methods.
Stable, Prosperous
Much of Montana was first settled by
people from the heavy soil regions of
the United States where rainfall is
more plentiful than here. The many
abandoned quarter and half-section
farmsteads of that early era are stark
evidence of the complete lack of know
ledge about the area that existed at
that time. Through research carried
out at the Central Montana Branch
Station during the past 50 years, we
have learned how to deal successfully
with the soil and moisture conditions.
With research has come a stable and
prospering agriculture.
What about the future? In a sum
mary report highlighting the history of
the station. Superintendent Jim Krall
said, "Basing judgment on past and
present research at this station, and
the fact that we are now in a period
of overproduction, it appears that any
future research should be more basic
in nature. In other words, we should
try to glean information that will be of
considerable value 20 or 30 years from
now.
"The problem of winter killing has
plagued this area since the introduc
tion of winter wheat. Any research on
this problem should be exceptionally
fruitful. Since water is our limiting
factor for production, any studies de
signed to reduce evaporation would
help increase production when needed,
Any studies in the field of genetics can
not be over-emphasized. In spite of the
fact that summer fallow is an insurance
against drought, it has its limitations
since it creates an erosion hazard. The
development of any practice or prac
tices which would equal or better the
summer fallow system should be
studied,
to plant growth warrants attention.
Perhaps it may be possible to more ac
curately predict what variety to grow,
what fertilizer to apply, or what prac
tice to follow,
would be appreciated. All progress
starts with a single idea."
"A study of our climate in relation
'Any suggestions on future research
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It used to be that every farmer who Finally, he can hold his grain in stor
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Val Nelson
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Phone GL 2-4822
y.
GREAT FALLS. MONTANA
July 1, 1957—19

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