From Kari Lewis, MSU Extension – Glacier County

Kari Lewis, MSU Extension Glacier County Agent (MSU photo by Kelly Gorham)

MSU Extension will be hosting a Pulse Production workshop Wednesday, February 15, 2017, in both Conrad and Fort Benton.  With decreased commodity prices in cereal grains, there is additional interest in raising pulse crops.  However, many production and marketing challenges exist, which this workshop will address for beginning producers.  The workshop will cover production, marketing, insurance, disease management, and common mistakes with chemicals and inoculants and conclude with a producer panel.

Both locations will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. and will conclude by 4 p.m.  The Conrad workshop will be held at the Pondera Shooting Sports Complex, 972 Granite Road, Conrad, and the Fort Benton workshop will be held at the Ag Center, 1205 20th Street.  The Northern Pulse Growers Association and US Dry Pea and Lentil Council are graciously sponsoring lunch to the first 125 RSVPs at each location.

Dr. Perry Miller, Land Resources and Environmental Sciences professor at Montana State University will lead participants through an interactive pulse crop production based discussion.  The presentation will cover necessary field preparations and seeding recommendations, growing season management, and equipment and techniques necessary for safely handling pulse crops during harvest.  He will also provide recommendations for crop rotations when using pulses.  Dr. Miller was awarded an Excellence Award as a Researcher from the Northern Pulse Growers Association in 2009 and was named an American Society of Agronomy Fellow in 2014.

Jeff Winkler, Mountain View Cooperative Pulse Specialist, will cover the need for and proper use of inoculants and chemicals.  Jeff will explain the common mistakes that he’s seen regarding inoculant and chemical use, and share tips on how to prevent those mistakes in the field.  Jeff has 10 years of hands-on experience with pulse crop agronomy and merchandising, and been working in agriculture business for 20 years.

Chrissy Cook will bring her expertise to the pulse workshop to discuss markets and contracts. She will also talk about different pulses and varieties, and their current demand in the marketplace. Chrissy is a native of Colorado and graduated from Colorado State University with her Bachelors of Science and Master’s degrees. She currently works for Hodgkiss Seed in Choteau, MT. Hodgskiss Seed is a family owned and operated seed business established in 1968. They are growers, processors, and retailers of foundation, registered, and certified seed.
The insurance portions will be covered by Kevin Swanson of Leavitt Insurance, in Conrad, and by Shawn Fladager from Northwest Farm Credit Services Insurance of Great Falls, at the Fort Benton workshop.  The speakers will cover availability of insurance products for pulse producers and how those products can help producers manage risk. For farmers with no history of pulse production, it is important to know how to determine insurable yields and how to protect their investment in a new crop.

Dr. Jessica Rupp, MSU Extension Plant Pathologist, will cover diseases identification and management of pulse crops.  North Dakota and Canadian farmers are already facing numerous disease challenges in their pulse crops, and Dr. Rupp will provide education for best management practices to prevent these diseases from making it to the Golden Triangle.  Some additional topics that will be covered include rotation guidelines for disease management and options available for seed treatments and foliar fungicides.

Both locations will conclude with a producer panel of local pulse crop producers sharing their experiences and tips and tricks they’ve learned through growing pulse crops with the day wrapping up by 4 p.m.

Two pesticide points will be available.  Lunch will be provided to the first 125 RSVP’s, courtesy of sponsorships from US Dry Pea & Lentil Council and Northern Pulse Growers Association.  For any questions regarding the event or to RSVP, please contact Tyler Lane (MSU Extension – Chouteau County, 622-3000, or Shaelyn Meyer (MSU Extension – Pondera County, 271-4054,  Please RSVP no later than Friday, February 10.