Discouraging might not even be the right word to describe the situation faced by many ag producers in Teton County. This year’s weather challenges have dramatically affected the growing season from planting to harvest. A few weeks ago, I was visiting with an area producer who still had crops in the field and had been fighting rain, mud and then snow on his grain crop. For many, it was a challenge to get a first cutting of hay, when on a normal year they could get at least two cuttings. Growing up on a farm and ranch operation, I remember my mom keeping a journal/calendar for reference and recording the dates of each harvest. My recollection is that early October was the latest the combines quit on our dryland operation. I also remember a year when it rained and rained and there was a tractor in the field to pull the combines out if they got stuck. I was a teenager at the time and not that outwardly aware, but I did notice how grumpy my dad was that season. I suspect the whole household was on edge to some extent.
Knowing the current challenges of ag producers in Teton County, Brent Roeder, former ag agent and current MSU Extension Sheep and Wool Associate Specialist (still residing in Teton County) passed along a web resource for those with grain still standing in the field. Montanans are not alone facing the challenges with the growing season and harvest. North Dakota State University is hosting a series of webinars that began on October.
According to Miranda Meehan, NDSU Extension livestock environmental stewardship specialist, the series will give producers a chance to learn about ways to deal with concerns about unharvested crops, forage shortages, animal stress, condition and weaning challenges, and other issues facing producers across the state.
The webinars have already taken place, but all can be viewed online here:
The pages offer links to relevant publications as well as other webinars.
The programs include the following topics:
• Unharvested Wheat - https://youtu.be/REPAzC6xo9M
• Cow-calf Management - https://youtu.be/uzCV2oxVgjY
• Unharvested Corn - https://youtu.be/-4ebohl_B6c
• Assessing and Stretching Forage Supplies - https://youtu.be/QZbHrp1gp2o
Perhaps the webinars will give a few suggestions or ideas on how to salvage the situation, at least in terms of the grain, forage and livestock management. It may not help as much with the stress and strain faced by ag producers and their families. MSU Extension in Teton County has some resources for those challenges. Please contact Jane Wolery for more information. Much like those challenging years my family faced in terms of weather while I was growing up, I suspect this will be one many will record in their ag journals.