Montana State University Extension will host a free, cropping seminar series Jan. 8-11 in Fort Benton, Chester, Havre, Shelby, Cut Bank, Choteau, Conrad, Stanford and Great Falls.

Topics will include integrating beef cattle into cover crops, soil fertility, why pesticides may not work as designed and partial budgeting analysis.

Clain Jones, MSU Extension soil fertility specialist, will speak about soil fertility and inoculation of pulse crops and nutrient management after both wet and dry years. Jones will first discuss fertilization and inoculation of pulse crops, an important topic as an increasing number of acres in the Golden Triangle are transitioned to pulse crops.

Jones will explain why protein levels were not as high as expected for many producers in 2017, as it relates to nutrient management during and after dry or wet years. He will also cover managing nitrate in forages during years with variable precipitation. The presentation will include data on soil acidification, which has become an increasing issue in Chouteau and Cascade counties.

Kate Fuller, MSU Extension specialist in agricultural economics and economics, will share “Partial budget analysis: why and how to estimate cost of production.” Producers will explore enterprise budgeting and partial budget analysis during Fuller’s presentation. Available estimates, along with tools to help estimate and benchmark cost of production for both current and potential enterprises, will be shared. Participants can also explore current market conditions and how they will impact producer profitability.

Neil McCormick of the Farmers Business Network will discuss how FBN provides powerful agronomic and financial insights. FBN members receive comprehensive analytics on seed performance, agronomic practices, input prices, yield benchmarking and more based on over 55 million acre-events of real world data from the FBN community of farm.

Producers will be treated to a free lunch of steak fingers, mashed potatoes and green beans prepared by Hog Heaven, a Choteau food truck operated by Charles and Paula Ballard. An RSVP isn’t required, but would be appreciated for a meal count.

Cecil Tharp, MSU Extension pesticide specialist, will address how producers can most effectively utilize their pesticides. Tharp will cover common problems when applying pesticides, with a focus on the importance of calibrating sprayers, understanding active ingredients, understanding the product label and the impacts of environmental conditions on your spray application.

Darrin Boss, MSU Northern Agricultural Research Center superintendent, will share his results from four years of cover crop grazing research at MSU NARC near Havre. He will present management recommendations and an economic analysis focused on integrating beef cattle into cover crops, specific to the Golden Triangle area.

The meeting in Choteau on Jan. 11 will start at 8:30 a.m. with registration and coffee at the Stage Stop Inn. For more information or to RSVP, call the MSU Extension Office in Teton County. Both commercial and private pesticide licensing recertification credits will be available.