Montana producers are battling dry ground to bring a quality crop to your table

We know that planting conditions always vary from region to region. Russell Nemetz, with the Western Ag Network, brings us an update from the “Big Sky Country” as farmers battle drought.

One of the driest areas in America is northeast Montana. Despite this, farmers are back in the field planting another high-quality crop of cereal grains, pulses, and oilseeds.

According to farmer Adam Carney, “I still think there’s some opportunity out there for us to try to optimize. We still have to go through the steps and put the seed in the ground. And as we’re standing here right now, this is probably the best seeding conditions I’ve had all year. Hopefully, they continue to get better. It takes rain to get more rain. So hopefully, we finish and all the crop comes up in rows and has that opportunity to get the next shower.”

Northeast Montana is known for its dark northern spring and durum wheat, but pulse crops are also very important to farmers here and their cropping rotation.

“The pulse rotation is really enhanced the durum crop we’ve raised,” Blake Rasmussen states. “We’ve raised some tremendous ones over the years and continue to hope to continue that. The pulse crops help break up some of the disease cycles, as well as the durum crop helps break up the disease cycles on the pulse side. The two complement each other very well, and then throw in an oilseed-- whether it’s flax, mustard, or canola-- to help some of the weed challenges and disease cycles, as well.”

Farmers here also take great pride in raising their crops, and that is because they know consumers around the world will be consuming food products made from them.

“Well, I think we do a good job of raising it, if not the best. There’s no question about our quality, and I think everyone here enjoys being in northeastern Montana producing a quality grain for the world to consume,” Carney states. “They’re creating more people and there’s less acres becoming available, so we have to do a better job in order to create a quality product for those buyers.”

For farmers in rural areas like Montana’s Daniels and Sheridan counties, it is more than just raising high-quality crops.

“Farming gives you that complete, holistic [experience]. You get to have your kids around, your wife, and be home for lunch and have the kids on the tractor... that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day,” Rasmussen adds.


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