While COVID-19 has prompted the cancellation of the annual onsite Froid Research Farm Field Day typically held in late June, two live webinars are planned to provide interested participants with important information on range and cropland weeds in the MonDak with a special emphasis on identifying and preventing the introduction of Palmer amaranth in Montana, a dangerous herbicide resistant crop weed that has recently made its way into North Dakota.

The webinars were originally scheduled for successive Thursdays, but have now been moved to the mornings of Thursday and Friday, June 25-26. Thursday’s presentation will begin at 8:30 am, while Friday’s presentation will begin at 7:30 am. The presentations are expected to last an hour each. Pesticide points for both presentations are also pending.

Please note, participants will need to provide their applicator license numbers at the time of the webinar to receive credit. Also, plans are to post recordings of both webinars on the Sidney ARS website www.ars.usda.gov/pa/nparl/fieldday; but pesticide points are ONLY available for those participating in a live session.

To sign up for the webinars, visit the website listed above, or contact Beth Redlin at 406-433-2020 or beth.redlin@usda.gov.

For those interested, Thursday’s webinar is entitled “Palmer amaranth Identification and Management and Herbicide Resistant Weeds” and is being presented by Richland County (MT) Extension Agent Tim Fine. He will discuss how to identify the weed and distinguish it from other pigweed species to prevent the introduction of this devastating crop weed into the region, as well as what steps should be implemented if a person believes they’ve found the weed. Fine will also discuss steps to prevent herbicide resistance, a known trait in Palmer amaranth in other parts of the country. Fine will also address other herbicide-resistant crop weeds that have already been identified in Eastern Montana.

Friday’s webinar is entitled “Noxious Weed Identification: Present and Potential Invaders” and includes tips on identifying noxious rangeland weeds commonly found in the MonDak, along with those threatening to invade. The presenter is NPARL Biological Science Technician Kim Mann, who has more than 30 years experience with weed identification and biocontrol and who also frequently provides weed identification instruction to local and regional weed districts and their employees. In addition to an overview of listed and threatening noxious weeds in the state and tips for identifying them, Mann will also discuss locally listed weeds such as baby’s breath currently considered a noxious weed in Richland County.

Although the June Froid Research Farm Field Day has been canceled for this year, updates on research at the site will be posted on the Sidney ARS website, along with additional research being conducted by NPARL scientists. The Froid Field Day event is regularly sponsored by the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory (NPARL) in Sidney, the Roosevelt and Sheridan Conservation Districts and the Roosevelt and Sheridan County extension Offices.

Also upended by COVID-19, the joint Sidney Dryland Field Day sponsored by the Sidney ARS lab, Montana State University’s Eastern Agricultural Research Center (EARC) and the Richland County Extension office has also been cancelled, but will return as an every other year event in 2021, according to officials from both Sidney research labs.

Beth Redlin is Technical Information Specialist at USDA/ARS, Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sidney.

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