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Summer Field Day Features Cederberg Plot Tour


June 30, 2021

Jim Berg discusses different winter wheat varieties.

MSU Blaine County Extension and the Northern Ag Research Center (NARC) held a Summer Field Day on Tuesday, June 22 at the Max and Kirsti Cederberg Farm north of Turner. After receiving updates on the NARC Plot Variety Testing, the thirty-some producers on the tour were treated to a BBQ supper, which was sponsored by CHS Big Sky.

The tour featured three speakers. The first, Dr. Jason Cook, a Spring Wheat Breeder and Geneticist from Montana State University-Bozeman (MSU), shared a report on Spring Wheat Variety Performance and Research. Following him, Jim Berg, MSU Wheat Breeding Program Research Associate and Assistant Winter Wheat Breeder, gave updates on Winter Wheat Variety Performance. Finally, Peggy Lamb, Research Scientist with NARC, presented Research for Enhancement of Future Varieties.

In her Variety Testing and Development report, Lamb stated that "ultimately we are here for the producers of northcentral Montana." She went on to explain that NARC conducts crop performance trials in cooperation and collaboration with various entities, including local growers. For example, the Cederberg plot was planted to winter wheat, spring wheat, and durum. Tour attendees were able to view trial results from the past several years to determine how different varieties performed in different conditions.

This year marks the 38th anniversary of the Cederberg's and the Northern Ag Research station working together on research plots.

"That longevity certainly gives the researchers some historical data," reported MSU Blaine County Ag, Natural Resources, and 4-H Extension Agent, Julianne Snedigar.

"Some breeds do consistently well in our area and some don't. Growers are always battling Mother Nature; in 2018, they had lots of moisture to contend with, and now in 2021, we have grasshoppers," Snedigar added.

Seed companies, research teams, and producers all have a stake in these plots. Of immediate importance, these trials provide farmers, extension personnel, and private companies with agronomic information on varieties of the major field crops grown in northcentral Montana in order to fit the best varieties to specific locations and environments. The trials are professionally managed and conducted in a scientific, research-based manner to minimize variability and to ensure the integrity of the results.

The data reveal which grains grow best in different soil conditions, which are drought resistant, and whether they produce high yields or boast high protein. Tours like this give producers a chance to see the research first-hand and to see what varieties are available to match their individual growing conditions. An added benefit is the in-person access to researchers, who share information and answer producer questions about new varieties, pest susceptibility, disease resistance, adaptations, and crop growth enhancement strategies so that growers can make more informed decisions.

Dr. Jason Cook, Spring Wheat Breeder, looks over different varieties of wheat being grown at the Cederberg Plot Trial.

According to NARC's website, their mission is to conduct and promote studies, scientific investigations, and experiments relating to agriculture, natural resources, and rural life and to disseminate this information to the people of Montana.

With that mission in mind, the three Summer Field Day speakers provided performance reports for winter wheat, spring wheat, durum wheat, spring barley, spring pea, spring lentil, spring canola, safflower, and annual forage.

Once their brains were full, the tour group convened for a meal to fill their stomachs. Personnel from CHS Big Sky grilled and served burgers and hotdogs at Lions' Park located on the west edge of Turner.

Snedigar wished to thank Max and Kirsti Cederberg for continuing to support the variety trials and allowing them to take place at their farm. In addition, she not only thanked CHS Big Sky for generously donating supper to tour participants but expressed gratitude to the speakers for traveling to Turner and sharing their knowledge with tour participants.


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