Hi-Line farmers feeling drought’s burn
Hi-Line farmers feeling drought’s burn.
There’s been 1.2 inches of rain since April 1 in Nashua, a community not far from land Nielsen farms, making it one of the driest communities in the state.
Nielsen said his family learned the hard way several years ago that stockpiling bread wheat for Grains of Montana is a must.
The Nielsens grow seed wheat on acreage near the Milk River where pivot sprinklers keep alive the plant genetics they depend upon.
On the dryland, the green doesn’t cover much where crops are planted.
At the Glasgow Stockyards, ranchers turn up every Thursday to sell off an animal or two, usually a heifer who didn’t get pregnant, or a belligerent steer not worth the trouble, or the hay now selling for $180 a ton.
Ranchers will lose the most in this drought, said Ed Hinton, an auctioneer who drives down from Scobey for the weekly sale.
In times of drought, the U.S. Department of Agriculture opens up grasslands previously off limits for conservation.
After that, there’s low interest, guaranteed loans.
It was 9:30 a.m. and the temperature was approaching 90 degrees already.