alfalfa, efficiency, forages, Irrigation, models, nutrients, productivity

The pandemic virtual events adaptation

We see, hear, experience, how difficult this is. But we adapt as quick as we could to continue our respective roles. We show here some of the virtual field day content. Below are only the forage component of the virtual field day in 2020.

JT and Eeusha Nafi (postdoc) on alfalfa genetics, moistures, models
Ph.D. student Amanda Shine showing her study on alfalfa fall dormancy, nutrient, and moisture study
JT on Kernza
JT on Corn
Ph.D. Student Amanda showing her N and warm season forage research

alfalfa, efficiency, Irrigation, productivity, protein, wheat

Genetic-specific resource use efficiency

It is time to update contents of this blog through photos as they depict thousands of words. Recently, I accepted an additional 25% administration appointment as an interim superintendent of the research center while improving my research and other responsibilities such as outreach and service to the Crop Science Society of America and Agronomy Society of America, Montana State University, etc.

Below is a fraction of the inquiries focusing on genetic-specific resource efficiency studies. We manage a total of sixteen field-type research this year. We learned to plan and work as efficiently as possible as a team and kept our cool.

A USDA-NIFA Project with UC Davis, Univ. of Arizona, and Univ. of Florida characterizing Alfalfa fall dormancies subjected to Montana and Arizona growing conditions under various moisture. Other than providing information to our clientele, this will serve as a detailed data in the development of DSSAT-alfalfa model.

Funded by MT Wheat and Barley Committee, this project allowed us to study a ‘plasticity’ of traits such as high/low protein and high/low tillering genes.

Unfunded, but we try to accommodate local producer’s demand for information on popular crops in the midwest. Our short-season and cooler nights temperature may not be very conducive for soybean. But trying various planting date and newer short-season maturity groups (Photo taken on July 11, 2018).

(Photo taken Aug. 3, 2018). We might actually find a maturity group and planting date fitting this area.

Funded by MT Wheat and Barley Committee, this project investigates plasticity of traits such as seed number, seed size, tiller number, and yield genes for the NW MT environment. With the MSU breeder collaborator (Talbert) and a Ph.D student (B. Brewer), we might be able to find genes that are much more adaptive to various MT environments.

Sometimes, you just want to continue a project that is worthwhile to investigate and document further (This study was initiated last year by Bob Stougaard, now the Asst Dean for Research at Univ. of Georgia). This is a seeding rate study (number of seeds per area, rather than weight per area). We strive to get our local producers to use number instead of weight due to its economic implication. Seeds and tech costs are expensive.

We discuss what we learned over the years and look at Environment, Genetics, and Management associations. Production can be complex and comprehensive information over five growing seasons are informative. (Photo taken on July 10, 2018 during NWARC Field day).


efficiency, Irrigation, productivity, protein, wheat

(Re)Introduction of Soft White Spring Wheat

Producers in NW Montana have revisited and planted growing Soft White Spring Wheat in lieu of Hard Red Spring Wheat for economic reason. Last year (2015), other than the NW MT extreme drought that occurred, the price of hard red spring wheat dropped and soft white market price was higher. Thus, some producers have opted planting this market class this year. Though, this market class is prone to pre-harvest sprout and falling number at the elevator can be a real downer. There are strategies in terms of limiting irrigation water towards late seed-fill, etc. as discussed during this year’s winter grower meeting.

Soft white wheat is a low moisture wheat ideally used for asian-style noodles, pastries and flat breads. Low protein is desired for this market class and a high protein soft white is discounted at the elevator.

This year, we study management options to focus on yield increase and not on protein. The rationale was discussed during our July 12, 2016 field day and we look forward to provide you with updates during our winter grower meeting in Kalispell, MT. See you there.