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WARC operates much like a very highly diversified farm. On slightly less than 30 irrigated acres, research is being conducted on a large number of crops of interest to producers.   Collaborations with other M.S.U. and Research Center faculty, includes research on a variety of row crops including wheat, barley, durum, flax, safflower, potatoes, cereal forages, and pulses. Each year a number of vegetable trials take place related not only  to varieties, but growing methods, and soil fertility strategies.  Analysis of cold hardy berries is underway, as well as wine grapes, table grapes, and cider apples. Producers take part in many of these experiments, dedicating plots on their farms to test the real-world applicability of varieties and methods. The data generated is useful for conventional farmers and organic farms alike. 

Growing fruit is a viable agricultural enterprise for small acreages.  Profits are high, but so are the set up costs. WARC research focuses on providing information that will let fruit growers know that their investments will pay dividends.

Pulses

 

Pulses are legume crops harvested for dry seed and include peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas.  Montana has become a leader in pulse production in the US. These crops help farmers diversify markets, break pest cycles, and add nitrogen to the soil.

 Cereals such as Wheat, Barley, Rye, and Triticale are among the most widely grown crops in Montana.  In South West Montana, production is primarily focused on malt barley and cereal forages (annual hay crops).  There’s also interest in durum wheat, a high gluten wheat used in pastas and breads.   

 Sustainable soil fertility management for organic vegetable farms: The Center is involved in several projects aimed at:

  1. Evaluating soil health (nutrients, microbial activity, and weed seed banks) in organic vegetable farms in Montana.
  2. Improving growers' abilities to manage soil fertility/health
  3. Develop alternative practices that integrate cover crops and livestock to provide more balanced soil fertility, better economic returns, and reduced risk of herbicide contamination.

 

 WARC is currently involved in four projects related to this topic:

  1. Weed Seed Banks on Organic Vegetable farms
  2. Management of Field Bindweed in Organic Systems
  3. Integrated Weed Management in Organic Chickpea
  4. Integrated Weed Management in Organic Flax
 Wireworms cause damage in potatoes and other crops. The most common form of crop protection (Neonicotinoid seed treatments)
can deter wireworm feeding but do not kill the pest.  Fipronil (a phenylpyrazole insecticide) can kill wireworms and may reduce pest abundance in subsequent years and crops.  Fipronil (Regent ®) can be used on potatoes as an in-furrow spray.