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Montana Farmer's Union hosts 'Hay Day' event

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Posted at 3:47 PM, Jun 12, 2024

The Montana Farmers Union and guest speakers were in Fairfield Tuesday morning speaking with local producers and demonstrating some new technology in precision agriculture.

Guest Speakers at the event covered a variety of technologies becoming available in the livestock industry and how it can be used to incorporate livestock into cropping systems. These included virtual fencing, hay steamer baling, and moisture yield monitoring.

Research Professor at Montana State University Paul Nugent spoke about utilizing geofencing to integrate crop and livestock systems, which has the potential to increase forage for cattle production and increase soil health. Nugent explains, “precision agriculture is the idea of, you know, utilizing technologies like some of the new technologies that will be seen today to help optimize our production systems in order to either make them more economically efficient or maybe even potentially more sustainable. We’re looking at the potential of using geofencing to manage fall grazing of crop residuals, where we can now control how the cattle utilize the landscape from a computer.”

Other equipment discussed were hay steamers and large baling equipment. Those who have been utilizing the equipment for the past few years spoke to its benefits such as allowing less experienced balers to use the equipment and yield just as much product as an experienced baler.

Concerns from local producers included the expense of the new baling equipment and the reliability of emerging technologies.

Nugent says, “The thing that's actually excited me more than bringing technology in is to see that the producers here are already utilizing some new technologies that I'm not even fully aware of and I get to learn from them.”