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Articles written by Marko Manoukian


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  • St. Mary-Milk River Irrigation Project Gets $53 Million Appropriation in State Legislature

    Marko Manoukian, St Mary Rehabilitation Working Group|Feb 22, 2023

    Senator Mike Lang submitted a recommended $53 million change to House Bill 6 secured a 5-1 vote from the appropriations subcommittee focused on infrastructure. It is nonbinding and will need a vote from the full House Appropriations Committee to actually be added to the legislation. The funding will be used to replace the 108 year old siphons before they suffer catastrophic failure. This is critical, explained Marko Manoukian, Local Co-Chair of the St. Mary Rehabilitation Working Group. We used...

  • Thirty Attend Livestock Day as US Beef Cow Numbers Shrink to Lowest Since 1962

    Marko Manoukian, P. C. Extension Agent|Feb 8, 2023

    The annual Jim Schumacher Memorial Livestock Day was well attended with over 30 area livestock producers. The meeting started off with a sour note. Continued drought in the west and plains has shrunk the beef cow herd to 28.9 million head. Year to date reduction of 4%, results in the smallest beef cow herd since 1962. Montana ranks 7th in the list of states with the largest reduction. Since 2020 Montana has lost over 200,000 head of cattle. Dr. “JP” Pollreisz, Managing Veterinarian in...

  • Schedule Released for Jim Schumacher Memorial Livestock Day

    Marko Manoukian, P. C. Extension Agent|Jan 25, 2023

    The annual Jim Schumacher Memorial Livestock Day will be February 1 at the Great Northern Lodge Room. It will start at 11 am. Topic will cover the impacts to our cattle herds the last few years of drought and how producers will get antibiotics from your veterinarian. The schedule is as follows: 11 a.m. - Scour Vaccination Protocol Dr. “JP” Pollreisz is a Managing Veterinarian in Zoetis’ Beef Technical Services division. With 31 years of experience in the industry, his primary focuses are...

  • National 4-H Week takes place October 2 through October 8

    Marko Manoukian, P. C. Extension Agent|Sep 28, 2022

    Montana 4-H is the youth development program of Montana State University Extension. 4-H is the largest, out-of-school youth development program in the state, reaching nearly 20,000 youth in all 56 counties each year. In 4-H, if you can dream it, you can do it! 4-H offers more than 200 different projects and learning experiences that actively engage youth while having fun. There are two main groups of 4-H aged youth. The first is called Cloverbuds and is for youth ages 5 to 8 years of age. This...

  • Drought impacts reduce beef cow numbers to lowest since 2014

    Marko Manoukian, P. C. Extension Agent|Aug 3, 2022

    Drought (level D2 to D4) now occupies 37% of the Western US. The impact on the US cattle numbers is staggering. US cow herd drop 2% in the last USDA report, but many analysts believe the cow and heifer slaughter numbers year to date are up 14% from the same time in 2021 and 27% larger than the five-year average indicating that the true cattle numbers in the US are much lower. Impacting these numbers are lack of livestock water and feed as well as grasshoppers in our local areas. For grasshopper...

  • Nitrates found in lambsquarter

    Marko Manoukian, P. C. Extension Agent|Jul 6, 2022

    Nitrates are an issue to be aware of with our annual forage like hay barley and other small grain that we make into hay. Moisture has not been universal across the landscape and some crops and weeds may be stressed, accumulating nitrate. One early test of lambsquarter (see photo below) showed presence of nitrate. In large quantities, this weed could be a problem in hay. Taking a sample of the plant and bring it to the Extension Office ahead of haying can screen for the presence of nitrate. Also...

  • P.C. Livestock Association Meeting on May 13

    Marko Manoukian, P. C. Extension Agent|May 4, 2022

    The Phillips County Livestock Association will be holding its spring meeting on May 13 at 2 pm at the First State Bank. One of the agenda items will be the formation of a Predator District. With several producers having calving issues with coyotes and a recent sighting of wolves in January of 2022, predators will be continuing to take a bite out of livestock profits. Also, invited speakers include Stockgrowers, Public Lands Council, State Legislature, Commissioners, and the local BLM. The...

  • Phillips County lost 25,000 Breeding Cows and Heifers in 2021

    Marko Manoukian, P. C. Extension Agent|Mar 9, 2022

    January 1 USDA NASS reports Montana down 90,000 head of cows and heifers that have calved. The January 1, 2022, report for the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) shows Montana has lost 90,000 head of cows and heifers that have calved since 2021 (https://downloads.usda.library.cornell.edu/usda-esmis/files/h702q636h/pn89f870n/jw828f69f/catl0122.pdf). Locally, by brand inspection, Phillips County has lost 25,000 cows and heifers that have calved. The drought and grasshoppers in 2021...

  • Grasshopper forecast, a slight improvement

    Marko Manoukian, P. C. Extension Agent|Feb 9, 2022

    Grasshopper outlook 2022 Unfortunately for most of Montana, the grasshopper outlook is only slightly better than 2021. The Rangeland Grasshopper outlook is developed through surveys of adult grasshoppers in the fall of 2021. The United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) conducts the survey and compiles the outlook map. In the state of Montana, 45.8 million acres are forecasted to experience 8-15 grasshoppers per square yard (orange) and 8.6...

  • Skyrocketing fertilizer cost up 100 percent or more than in 2020

    Marko Manoukian, P. C. Extension Agent|Jan 19, 2022

    For many agriculture producers an increase in fertilize cost after a year of drought, the fourth largest in the state’s history is like rubbing “salt in a wound”. Many outlets are reporting the travesty. Lane Norland of Montana Ag Network (December 27, 2021 YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpvv3UmBpCE) reported the following price increases compared to 2020: -Ammonia - 210% - Liquid Nitrogen - 159% - Urea - 155% -Monoammonium phosphate (MAP) - 125% - Di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) -...

  • 2022 Jim Schumacher Memorial Livestock Day to be held at the Great Northern Hotel

    Marko Manoukian, P. C. Extension Agent|Jan 12, 2022

    A good set of speakers lined up for the Annual Jim Schumacher Memorial Livestock day January 27, 2022 at the Great Northern Hotel. Below is a short description of the topic and speaker. 10 am: United Property Owners will discuss their suite against Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks regarding their bison EIS. 11 am: CHS nutrition consultant for our area Baily Hagedorn will be here to discuss feeding the cow during the last 1/3 of pregnancy and preparing for calving. With producers forced to feed...

  • Considerations for ag producers as drought persists

    Marko Manoukian, P. C. Extension Agent|Dec 8, 2021

    As the dry November closes here are some considerations for agricultural producers. Dormant dryland seeding of perennial grass and forbs should not be planted with our current conditions. While the plants will not germinate (that is a good thing), Montana State University recommendation are for 18 inches of soil moisture for dryland seeding of perennials. With no soil moisture, producers would be better to wait and see if conditions improve in the spring of 2022 for a dryland perennial seeding....

  • After 18 years of meetings, St. Mary/Milk River project receives large appropriation

    Marko Manoukian, P. C. Extension Agent|Nov 24, 2021

    On November 18, 2003, Lt. Governor Karl Ohs convened a meeting in Havre, Montana, to raise awareness of the urgent need to rehabilitate the aging St. Mary Facilities of the Milk River Project. On November 6, 2021 as part of the Federal Infrastructure bill the St. Mary/Milk River project will receive $100 million in funding. “It would be nice for a project that provides water and food to stand on its own merit, but the appropriation is fantastic” said, Marko Manoukian Co-Chair of the St....

  • After 18 years of meetings, St. Mary/Milk River project receives large appropriation

    Marko Manoukian, P.C. Extension Agent|Nov 17, 2021

    On November 18, 2003, Lt. Governor Karl Ohs convened a meeting in Havre, Montana, to raise awareness of the urgent need to rehabilitate the aging St. Mary Facilities of the Milk River Project. On November 6, 2021, as part of the Federal Infrastructure bill the St. Mary/Milk River project will receive $100 million in funding. “It would be nice for a project that provides water and food to stand on its own merit, but the appropriation is fantastic,” said, Marko Manoukian Co-Chair of the St. Ma... Full story

  • St. Mary irrigation project strikes out again on funding

    Marko Manoukian, P. C. Extension Agent|Oct 27, 2021

    The St. Mary/Milk River irrigation project struck out on another federal funding opportunity. The America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding that came from the Federal government to the state of Montana was made available through application for infrastructure project including water and sewer projects across the state. However, the Treasury Department did not include funding for dams or reservoirs in the spending guidelines for the state. “We asked our congressional delegation to contact the...

  • Drought pushes US beef cow herd inventory below 60 year low

    Marko Manoukian, P. C. Extension Agent|Sep 29, 2021

    The latest drought monitor (September 7, 2021) shows that 36% of the US is in drought level D2 or higher. Most of this is concentrated in the west with 80% D2 or higher and plains states at 42% D2. Widespread drought in 2021 has caused another liquidation cycle. Beef cow slaughter year to date is 9% above a year ago. Cow slaughter is now above the 2010-2013 level, the last significant liquidation that brought the US beef cow herd down to a 60-year low in inventory, said John Nalivka, president o...

  • Drought and grasshoppers take a toll on wheat and barley production

    Marko Manoukian, P. C. Extension Agent|Sep 15, 2021

    As grain farmers painfully know drought and grasshoppers across the northern and western regions of the United States has hampered small grain production. Specifically, for malt barley, Idaho barley production is forecasted to be down 36% from 2020, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. Idaho is in better shape than Montana and North Dakota, the other top two barley producing states. The USDA is predicting barley production will be down 54% in Montana and 37% in North...

  • 2021 4-H and FFA Carcass Results

    Marko Manoukian, P. C. Extension Agent|Sep 1, 2021

    The carcass results from the 2021 4-H and FFA livestock show at the Phillips County Fair are complete. Carcass results are eligible to be submitted to the Steer of Merit program, sponsored by the Montana Stockgrowers; Symbol of Excellence program, sponsored by the Montana Pork Producers Council; and Montana Certified Lamb program, sponsored by the Montana Wool Growers. For meeting individual carcass requirements, youth winners and the breeders of their animals receive a certificate from the spon...

  • Crop Tour Scheduled despite drought

    Marko Manoukian, P. C. Extension Agent|Jul 7, 2021

    Drought conditions and grasshopper impact have taken a toll on the small grain industry in Phillips County. However, research and variety development to take on these challenges still go on. Crop tours will be held starting July 12 at the Mortenson farm. This plot was planted early and has had some moisture so variety comparison should be decent. Bank of Malta will be providing the meal. Tuesday, the plot tour will be east of Malta at the Karl Mavencamp farm. Dr. Traci Hoogland, MSU Barley...

  • Blister Beetles found in Phillips County

    Marko Manoukian, P. C. Extension Agent|Jul 7, 2021

    Blister beetles have been confirmed in Phillips County. The beetles have many colors, but the same shape. They can be found with stripes, black and gray (see photo). The beetles get their name by exuding a toxic substance called cantharidin. It causes irritations to your hands if you crush one. If horses eat several that were in hay before harvesting, they may receive a toxic dose. Other livestock seem to have a tolerance. They feed on flowers including alfalfa blossoms. An insecticide...

  • PC Livestock Association to hold Meeting

    Marko Manoukian, PC Extension Agent|May 5, 2021

    The Phillips County Livestock Association will be holding a spring district meeting on May 7 at 2 pm at th3 First State Bank meeting room. Speakers include: Stockgrowers – Lesley Robinson Public Lands - Vicki Olson Senator Mike Lang – Legislature Update Representative Casey Knudsen – Legislature Update The Bureau of Land Management and County Commissioners were invited to speak. Livestock operators are encouraged to attend this important meeting. For more information contact the Secretary...

  • How Nelson Reservoir got it's name

    Marko Manoukian, PC Extension Agent|Apr 14, 2021

    A man named H.H. Nelson who in 1904 had property by Vandalia, between Glasgow and Hinsdale, along the Milk River, and with some other landowners from the Glasgow area formed the Lower Milk River Users Association. Their vision was getting water (liquid gold) from the proposed reservoir west of Saco to Valley County. They spent two years convincing Congress and Teddy Roosevelt for funds to develop the project. "Mr. Heindrick Hans (H.H.) Nelson was born in Denmark, moved with his mother to...

  • Drought impacts on crops and livestock discussed

    Marko Manoukian, PC Extension Agent|Apr 7, 2021

    While the wind has been atrocious in March the moisture was scarce. You can say that from about July of 2020 to today, total moisture is significantly low.  The drought conditions and the potential continuation of lower than normal moisture in the future was the discussion at the Great Northern Wednesday March 31, 2020. Extension Agent Marko Manoukian recently took 20 soil moisture samples with the Paul Brown (developed by Dr. Paul Brown Soil Spiciest with Montana State University in 1981)...

  • Livestock drought mitigation meeting

    Marko Manoukian, P. C. Extension Agent|Mar 24, 2021

    The Phillips County Extension office will be hosting a drought mitigation meeting March 31 at 1 pm at the Great Northern Lodge room. Dr. Megan Van Emon, Montana State University Beef Specialist, will be discussing management strategies and trigger dates as well as the impact drought can have on reproductive success for beef cattle. Resources will be provided to help create a drought management plan for your operation. While we can’t make it rain maybe with some planning, we can mitigate the...

  • Small grain variety update and variety selection tools

    Marko Manoukian, PC Extension Agent|Mar 3, 2021

    On March 11 at 2 pm Dr. Kent McVey, Montana State University Cropping Specialist will be discussing new varieties that are becoming available and variety selection tool pages on the internet. Dr. McVey has included a section on sawfly and winter kill (for winter wheat). Dr. McVey will be presenting by zoom. Dr. Jason Cook, Montana Stata University Spring Wheat Breeder will discuss the spring wheat breeding program. The meeting will be held in the basement meeting room. For further information...

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