Monday, August 17, 2015

Green Gold in Montana

 So last week I was out on a fertilizer mission to Montana.  One of the things I like to do best is to visit customer farms.  We visited one East of Billings, and here are RSM Stuart and Retail Partner Mike Kilzer in a field of recently harvested winter wheat with Kate and Marcus in the middle.  In fact, Marcus (or Mark)  just visited the NCRS last year on one of the Research Field Days.  So I was happy to return the visit.  They operate a rather large cattle feed lot operation, and raise many acres of irrigated corn and some alfalfa to support that.  And they have done it now for several years with AgroLiquid.
 We were on a crop tour of the farm, and had just seen a nice looking field of 80 day dryland corn.  It is often risky due to the dry conditions, but thanks to Pro-Germinator and High NRG-N, it was doing well.  Then we came over the the top of a hill and saw this nice looking crop.  Looks really good, doesn't it.  What is it?  Well it's cover crop.  In addition to their large farming operation, they also operate a cover crop seed business called North 40 Ag.  Check out the website.
And not just any cover crop, as there are 14 different species here.  Turnips, radishes, clovers, sunflowers, and lots of others including mung beans.  (I hadn't seen mung beans for many years since I lived in OK.) There were bees all over the place.  Here Kate shows Stuart the benefits of the mix. Kate is a Certified Professional Agronomist, so she knows what is what here.  They will probably graze this.  Cattle I mean, not them.
The next day Stuart took me up one of the valleys between Big Timber and Livingston, the Bolder Valley.  There is lots of alfalfa and grass grown for hay, and most of it is fertilized with AgroLiquid by another Retail Partner: Stu's Chemical.  Here is an alfalfa/grass crop being irrigated with a wheel line.  Probably most people have not seen such an apparatus, but they are common out west.  You just have to pay attention to how long to run it, then turn it off and move it down the field for the next set. Simple but effective.
 Here is a much larger field of Liquid-fed alfalfa.  Growers are pleased with the yield and hay quality that Liquid brings.  It sure is pretty and panoramic.
 Another thing I enjoy is the opportunity to see (and share) cool sites.  Like here is the Bolder River plunging down into a hole.  This is limestone, and over the years the water carved this hole into the bed of the river.  There used to be a limestone bridge over the site of the hole, and this area is called the Natural Bridge.  In fact, Stuart said his family visited it when he was a kid and has a picture of him and his sister standing on the bridge.  But alas, it collapsed in 1988.  Probably right after they left.
 And here is where it comes out again.  During periods of extra water flow, it will cascade over the top. But most of the time it is just like this.  But see how it curves around to the right...and disappears underground again.
And here is the dry former river bed below the falls.  It comes out again somewhere down the way. But by now we had used up our allotted tourist time and had to get going.  But I enjoyed it.  I may try to come back someday in the future when there is a newly carved natural bridge. 
Here is a field of second year dryland grass hay that also is fertilized with AgroLiquid.  Is that a truck coming down the road on the left?  That does it!  I could never live here if it's that crowded.
So later that day I made my way back down to Livingston where I stayed.  I enjoyed the pretty sunset reflected on the clouds up in the Big Sky of Montana.
But my mission was only half over.  Where would I go next?  Tune in tomorrow to find out.