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Ag in Action 2017




L J Olson - I.S.R. •

406-698-7051 (cell)

406-428-2509 (home)

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Wheatland County’s weed story


We try to get 100 percent noxious weed participation

of landowners in Wheatland County, and in this area there

is much activity in the controlling of noxious weeds using

biological, target grazing, mechanical and chemical methods

for weed control. We need to be sure weeds are not being spread

from one landowner’s property to their neighbor’s property.

Compliance is not an issue with someone’s property when

biological or target grazing takes place on the ranchwithweeds.

However, the bio agents are not keeping up with the spread of

the noxious weeds (spotted knapweed, leafy spurge and yellow

toadflax). That said, the method being used is hurting the

native vegetation rather than controlling the noxious weeds.

We do have several waypoints in several parts of the county

to help the landowner to better determine the carrying capacity

of a certain pasture for the type of animal that will be grazing. It

is hoped that overgrazing can be avoided.

Upper Musselshell, far west:

Two Dot was once labeled as the leafy spurge capital of

Montana. This label started back in the drought years of the

1920s. Feed was delivered to the area that was contaminated

with seed from the leafy spurge plant. The ranchers at the time

were mostly sheep operators, and as the spurge seed grew,

matured and spread, the plant was largely undetected, because

the sheep kept the bloom of the plant grazed down. However,

the plant flourished because of its root system that spreads

from its modified stems, called rhizomes.

A lone bull grazes on a partly sunny day in

Wheatland County. A Noxious Weed Trust Fund

grant is helping ranchers and other partners in the

area to keep the rangelands in good shape.

Photo courtesy of Gary Olsen

Continued on page 23