Tour of sustainable Small Grain Production in Eastern Washington

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2012: $7,350.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2014
Region: Western
State: Montana
Principal Investigator:
Dan Picard
MSU Extension-Pondera County
Jesse Fulbright
Montana State University


  • Agronomic: barley, wheat, hay


  • Animal Production: feed/forage
  • Crop Production: crop rotation
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension
  • Farm Business Management: cooperatives, value added
  • Pest Management: biological control, chemical control, cultural control, economic threshold, integrated pest management
  • Production Systems: general crop production


    Small grain producers in Montana share similar crop, pest, conservation and marketing concerns with other producers around the Pacific Northwest. To better serve Montana clientele and provide research based information Montana State University Extension agents and specialists toured Eastern Washington agriculture June 5-9, 2013. Tour stops in Eastern Washington included stops at Washington State University research farms, and private minimum and no-till farms, visits with grain cooperatives as well as a tour of an oilseed facility. This tour was made possible through a grant provided by a WSARE grant.

    Project objectives:

    The majority of M.S.U. Extension agents in the Golden Triangle had less than three years experience as Extension professionals at the time of the tour. Additionally, these agents were not trained in classic agronomy programs but came from a mixture of undergraduate and graduate programs. These professionals needed additional training to assist small grain producers with sustainable crop and pest management practices as well as provide training on marketing concepts that stabilize farm income.

    It is accepted by many that the best way for adults to learn is by in-field demonstrations and practices. By teaching Extension educators about sustainable cropping practices already being implemented they can better assist their clientele in putting new ideas into practice.

    Common problems between the two states and their cropping systems included diseases and pests in cereal and pulse crops, minimum and no-till practices, and marketing of those crops.

    Marketing crops in the Golden Triangle area of north-central Montana, especially outside of cereal grains has increased in the past approximately five years with many more growers turning to rotations between cereals, pulses and oilseeds. Marketing opportunities for some of these commodities remains challenging with great distances often required to get certain commodities to a market location. Exposing Extension professionals to innovative marketing programs and opportunities that they in turn could take to their clientele was a chief objective of the crop tour schedule of events.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.