A big part of the 2018 hay crop was hitting the ground last week, and the balers should be running full blast by the time this article is published. The 2018 Teton County Fair has come and gone, and I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the businesses and individuals who made donations, volunteered or participated in the fair and junior livestock sale. We are fortunate to have a strong county 4-H program in addition to the many other fantastic programs, organizations and activities in the county to help develop our youth.
I’ve talked with several homeowners and landowners over the past several months inquiring about disposal of unwanted pesticides. The Montana Department of Agriculture organizes a collection of unwanted products that moves among the three regions of the state. The central region, including Teton County, will have a collection day in the Great Falls area on Sept. 19. Private and commercial applicators will receive notice in July.
The Department of Agriculture’s website provides the following information on the program: Annual pesticide collections began in 1994. More than 584,000 pounds of waste pesticide have been collected from more than 1,682 participants since then. Amounts collected have ranged from one pound to more than 7,000 pounds. Cost for participating in the program is substantially lower than costs incurred through other disposal options. The disposal fee is free for the first 200 pounds and $0.50 per pound for amounts in excess of 200 pounds, with a minimum charge of $5. Products are weighed on site. The disposal fee for pesticides containing dioxins or dioxin precursors may have a higher fee.
Collection will take place in the Great Falls area on Sept. 19. Participants must pre-register their unusable pesticide with the Department of Agriculture. You cannot dispose of product unless you register, and the location of the disposal location is known only to the Department of Agriculture.
They have adopted this process due to people dumping large amounts of toxic chemicals at the site in the weeks before collection in past years. Upon registration, you will be notified of the location of the collection site. The registration form can be found at http://agr.mt.gov/Pesticide-Waste-Disposal and must be mailed to: Montana Department of Agriculture, Pesticide Disposal Program, 54 E. Larslan Road, Larslan, MT 59244. (I had to look it up, too. Larslan is an unicorporated town northeast of Glasgow.)
With all the moisture we have been getting this spring and early summer, I am expecting to start seeing signs of several diseases in trees. If your apple or other fruit-bearing trees suddenly start having the tips of branches and leaves die, the tree is probably being attacked by the a bacterial disease called Fire Blight. Prevention is difficult. Other than planting resistant varieties, we are mostly limited to pruning out dead wood in the fall or early spring. Pruning out diseased limbs during the hot summer months generally only spreads the disease further into the tree.
If you have bur oak trees, you may at some point see some large blisters appearing on the leaves that eventually die. This disease is a fungal infection called Oak Leaf Blister. Some trees can look terrible, but basically you just need to sweep up all those leaves in the fall and get them away from the tree.
The final one I have seen around the county is a fungal infection of ponderosa pines called Dothistroma Needle Blight. If the outside half of the needle is dead and turns orange or red, and the inside half of the needle stays green, that is what you have. Repeated years of re-infection can ultimately kill even fairly large trees. With this disease, if two years of needles are infected, the tree needs to be treated by a professional arborist.
As we have had lots of precipitation and many producers didn’t get fertilizer down, I am not expecting to see severe issues with nitrates in forages. They generally accumulate in wheat, barley, oat or Sudan-type grasses cut for forages that have been fertilized heavily during drought. If you have some samples you are concerned about, call or drop them by the office and I can run an in-office test for your use.
As 4-H Congress and camp are approaching rapidly, I will be out of office at times for several days. If you are certifying weed-seed free hay or wanting nitrate tests run, give me a couple of days’ notice. If you are selling hay, it is best to just go ahead send a core sample into a certified lab, which we can help with. The cost of that test is insignificant when compared to losing a couple of calves.
I hope everyone has signed up for Montana Ag Alerts at https://mtagalert.org. The past three alerts have dealt soil acidity issues which we now have in Teton County, an update from Mary Burrows, Ph.D., on cereal and pulse diseases, and an updated table on pulse fungicide recommendations. Have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July and haying season.