Ag in Action 2017
L J Olson - I.S.R. •www.accelgen.com
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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 OlsenContinued on page 23