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Issue: July/August 2011
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Issue: July/August 2011

The Northern PlainFacts electronic newsletter offers brief updates on research, personnel, and events from both the Agricultural Systems Research Unit and Pest Management Research Unit at NPARL, and includes contact names and information for those interested in further details. 

In This Month's Issue:

Montana ARS scientists to speak at annual research farm field days

Montana ARS scientists to speak at university Field Day

Montana ARS scientist invited speaker at forest genetics meeting



Montana ARS scientists to speak at annual research farm field days

In what is being billed as a "Dryland Doubleheader," ARS scientists with the Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney, Montana, are hosting back-to-back Field Days at its two dryland research farms. Ironically, both dryland field days have been pushed back two weeks because of unusually wet weather that delayed planting by researchers as well as local producers. First up is the annual Froid (MT) Research Farm Field Day set for Thursday, July 7th. Registration begins at 1 pm. This year's event includes a special "pesticide containment and worker safety" workshop with Diana DeYoung, from the Montana Department of Agriculture in anticipation of the new containment regulations going into effect in August. Also speaking is Dawson County Extension Agent Bruce Smith who will discuss the new Food and Agriculture Development Center established at Glendive, MT and the new culinary arts program focusing on local foods beginning at Dawson Community College. The on-farm tour talks feature ARS Weed Ecologist Andrew Lenssen and Agronomist Brett Allen; discussing their various research projects, including information on yields, quality and water use in a durum oilseeds rotation; information on yield, quality and water use impacts in dryland corn and the influence of stacked and alternate-year crop rotations on weed communities, crop yield and nitrogen and water use. Talks on alfalfa weevil and its natural predators and the grasshopper outlook for 2011 are also planned by ARS Ecologist Tatyana Rand and Entomologists Dave Branson and Stefan Jaronski. The tour is sponsored by Sidney ARS and the Roosevelt and Sheridan County (MT) Conservation Districts and Montana State University Extension Offices, and concludes with a BBQ steak dinner sponsored by the Conservation Districts. Following the Froid Farm tour is the third Annual Sidney ARS Dryland Field Day set for Friday, July 8th beginning at 9 am. Speakers there include Drs. Lenssen, Allen, Rand and Branson, along with Plant Pathologist Robert Lartey. Farm tour stops will focus on nitrogen studies in malt and forage barley and winter wheat; potential grasshopper damage for 2011 and management approaches; a promising biocontrol agent for net blotch in dryland barley; studies on insect predators for alfalfa weevil, and a look at rotation, tillage and nitrogen influences on yields, water use, and soil nutrients in a long-term cropping study incorporating spring wheat, pea, barley hay and corn. Richland County Extension Agent Tim Fine will also discuss winter wheat production in the county. Diana DeYoung will again offer her pesticide container workshop for affected producers and dealers. The Richland County (MT) Extension Office is a co-sponsor of the Sidney tour, and provides the lunch.


(Beth Redlin, 406.433.9427,

(Tim Fine,

(Brett Allen, 406.433.9402,

(Dave Branson, 406.433.9406,

(Stefan Jaronski, 406.433.9486,

(Robert Lartey, 406.433.9490,

(Tatyana Rand, 406.433.9439,



Montana ARS scientists to speak at university Field Day

Sidney (MT) ARS Agronomist Bart Stevens and fellow ARS Soil Scientist Jay Jabro have been invited to speak at Montana State University's annual Eastern Agricultural Research Center (EARC) Field Day, Tuesday, July 26th. For his presentation, Dr. Stevens will address his research into "Residue Management in Irrigated Cropping Systems," while Dr. Jabro will discuss his "Soil Compaction" research efforts. Drs. Stevens and Jabro are both members of the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory's Agricultural Systems Research Unit. Stevens' research, in response to renewed interest in cellulosic ethanol and other biofuel products, looks at how reduced tillage and residue removal may affect future crop yield and soil quality. Jabro's study looks at a variety of factors and cultural practices affecting soil compaction including the natural freeze and thaw cycle. The EARC Field Day will also feature the dedication of that lab's new research facility and greenhouse. Currently, EARC and ARS scientists share office and lab space in the Sidney (MT) ARS facility.
(Bart Stevens, 406.433.9476,

(Jay Jabro, 406.433.9442,


Montana ARS scientist invited speaker at forest genetics meeting

ARS Plant Ecologist Erin Espeland has been invited to speak at the Western Forest Genetics Association's 2011 conference on "Genetics of Forest and Wildland Conservation and Restoration" to be held in Troutdale, OR, July 25-28. Dr. Espeland will be speaking on "Factors affecting the speed of plant evolution, including maternal effects and epigenetics." Other invited speakers include representatives from the USDA Forest Service, Chicago Botanic Gardens, British Columbia's Ministry of Forests and Range, and several Canadian and American universities. The event is sponsored by the Western Forestry and Conservation Association, which provides continuing education workshops and seminars for professional foresters throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Northern California, and British Columbia. Dr. Espeland is a member of the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory's Pest Management Research Unit.


(Erin Espeland, 406.433-9416,




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