- Agronomic: wheat
- Animals: bovine
- Animal Production: feed/forage, feed rations
- Crop Production: continuous cropping, multiple cropping
- Education and Training: extension, on-farm/ranch research
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns
- Production Systems: general crop production
- Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures
Many agricultural operations in Montana consist of integrated crop and livestock enterprises (primarily small grains and cow-calf). On these ranches, efficient forage production and use is key for winter feed programs and long-term economic stability. Alfalfa and alfalfa-grass mixes are widely grown on over 2 million acres in Montana. Annual forages such as hay barley, sorghum sudangrass and millet are also important hay sources, both as emergency roughages during drought and as rotation crops when alfalfa or perennial pastures are renovated. The use of these crops has increased; since 2000, cereal hay was harvested on about 300,000 acres in Montana, valued at $34.5 million annually. Hay barley, such as ‘Haybet’, accounts for most of the cereal hay, but many producers are interested in winter cereals.
This project examined the agronomic characteristics of ‘Willow Creek’ awnless forage winter wheat that will be available in limited supplies for planting in 2007. The project allowed producers across the State of Montana (map 1) to look at grazing potential and hay production of this
variety and decide how it will fit in their specific environments. Producers and technical advisors were able to increase awareness in the agriculture community of winter forage enterprises and Sustainable
Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) project funding.