Beaverhead County Extension
Beaverhead County Extension
2 S. Pacific
Dillon, MT 59725
The Beaverhead County Extension Service Staff is dedicated to providing the citizens of Beaverhead County with research based knowledge and information. The Beaverhead County Extension office is your resource for: livestock and cropping questions, yard and garden questions, noxious weed identification and recommendations, bug and spider identification, and DNRC conservation seedlings. We also provide services in soil testing, forage nitrate testing, weed free hay certifications, private pesticide applicator licensing and training, and beef quality assurance certifications. We support our community’s youth and their leadership development through 4-H programming.
Montana State University Extension links the Montana State University with Montana’s citizens around the state via the Extension offices in all counties and reservations. Extension faculty develops and present educational materials and programs to help citizens deal more effectively with family, business and community issues.
The Beaverhead County 4-H program encompasses 185 youth in 11 organized clubs. We utilize a network of 85 adult volunteers to deliver 4-H programming to the youth of Beaverhead County. 4-H members can be enrolled between the ages of 9-19. The 4-H year runs from October first of each year to the next. Members can enroll in most projects up until the first of June. Please call the Beaverhead County Extension Office if you have any questions about our 4-H program.
Beaverhead County, Montana State University, and the United States Department of Agriculture jointly fund the Beaverhead County Extension Office. The programs of the Beaverhead County Extension Office are open to all people regardless of race, creed, sex, disability, or national origin.
Our office is located on the main floor of the Beaverhead County Courthouse. When facing the staircase leading upstairs we are directly to the right. We are open 8-5 Monday through Friday; we are however closed for lunch from 12-1.
A good portion of our services requires our clients to bring us samples for identification or testing. To expedite identification and recommendations we need the right kinds of samples brought in for analysis.
Insect and Spider Identification Samples:
Please bring us insects and spiders in for identification alive if possible. If we can have more than one sample that is always helpful. Please have them packaged in a hard sided container to prevent crushing in transit. Do not leave samples in a hot car for an extended period of time, baked samples degrade quickly. Bring us your samples as soon as possible and keep in mind that our labs work M-F and that samples sent after Wednesday have an increased chance of setting over the weekend and degrading. Hopefully we will be able to identify it here, but if we do need to send it on these things become important. Also please bring as much information about the sample as possible. Degree of infestation, location(s) found, explanations of the concern, or damages being done by the pest.
Plant Identification or Plant Disease Diagnosis:
Bring in the whole plant with roots if possible. Collect samples with mild, moderate and severe symptoms as well as healthy specimens if possible. In the case of trees we need eight to ten inches of branch with multiple leaves if possible in all the same categories of symptoms. Keep some soil around the root ball; ideally if we could replant the plant upon arrival and have it survive it will increase the chances of better diagnosis. Keep the sample as fresh as possible; refrigerate samples that need to be held over a number of days. Do not store samples in a hot car and expect good results in identification or diagnosis. If possible collect the plant in its flowering state especially when seeking identification. Include photographs or videotapes illustrating the problem if it is widespread across a planted crop, or across numerous trees. Bring us as much information about the sample as you can.
Soil Samples for Testing:
Soil samples require testing at an outside lab, and there is a fee schedule for soil testing dependent on the type of test results desired. Please make sure to collect a representative sample of the soil you want tested, most fields have more than one soil type within the field. In most cases your purposes may be served better by multiple samples. We need around a cup of soil for each test you want to have done. Label your samples in a way there will be no confusion either here in the extension office or later at the lab.
Nitrate Sampling of Forages:
The best time to sample forages for Nitrate levels is before the forage is cut. Once the forage is cut the Nitrate levels are fixed and can only be impacted through the silage or haylage fermentation process. The results of any test is only as good as the sample tested so keep that in mind as you sample your field for testing. Nitrate levels fluctuate during the day with the nitrate level being the highest in the morning. Please sample your field at approximately the same time you intend to cut it. We test the lowest leafing juncture or node on the plant so when possible cut the sample plants directly at the ground level. Walk the entire field in a “W” pattern sampling at each end point and the middle of each leg of the “W”. Pay extra attention to any portion of the field that may not receive as much water, has been stressed for some reason, or has a difference in soil type than the rest. You may want to cut and bale some sections separately. The free Nitrate quick test we are able to perform in the office will tell you if Nitrate is present or not and will give you some idea of level. To have a quantitative (actual ppm) Nitrate level we can send in a cured hay sample in to the Forage lab at Montana State University. There is a $12.00 (subject to change) fee for the quantitative test.
Forage (Hay or Silage) Sampling and Testing:
We can send forage off to the Agricultural Experiment Analytical Laboratory for a variety of quantitative tests. These tests vary in price schedule please call the Extension Office for more details. To accurately sample-standing forage walk the field in a “W” pattern. Take a sample at each point and in the middle of each leg of the “W”. Cut the sample at the same spot the forage will be harvested at. Please pay attention to large patches in the field that may be different due to stress, differences in soil or water. If these areas are big enough you may want to sample them separately and handle the resulting hay/forage differently. If the hay is already in stacks use a hay probe to sample the forage. Do not mix different cuttings or types of forage together. Sample your forage in production lots, keep all the hay that was cut and baled at the same time together. Probe a hay lot in around 20 separate places, per stack or field.
We can send silage off to the Agricultural Experiment Analytical Laboratory for a variety of quantitative tests. These tests vary in price schedule please call the Extension Office for more details. To sample and ship a silage sample we need to have a sample 1-4 pounds in quantity. To prevent loss of components (water, ammonia, etc.) and spoilage freeze samples and pack them with blue ice. Use an airtight container (well sealed double plastic bag or plastic bottle) and leave room for freezing expansion.
Commercial Feed and Fertilizer:
To check commercial fertilizer or commercial feed claims we will need 1-3 pounds to test. Please package dry feed or fertilizer in a plastic or paper bag. Liquid samples must be shipped in glass or polyethylene bottles. Include a claim label to expedite findings. Please mix liquid feeds well in storage tanks before sampling.
Private Pesticide Applicators Licensing:
To obtain your private applicators license in the State of Montana you have to pass an open book exam through the Beaverhead County Extension Office. The state is split into districts and each district has been placed on a five-year renewal cycle. We are currently in the 2004-2009-renewal cycle. A private applicators license costs $10/year or $50 per renewal cycle. To keep your private applicators license you must acquire 6 renewal credits within the renewal period. The Beaverhead County Extension Office in conjunction with the Beaverhead County Weed District organizes training for renewal credits.
Montana Weed Seed Free Forage Program:
Mr. Tanner is a certified agent of the MWSFF program. In order to certify forage weed free in Montana it has to be physically inspected within 7 days of harvest. Straw can be inspected within 14 days of harvest. Producers need to call the Extension Office 48 hours before they intend to cut to insure Mr. Tanner is available to certify their fields. Certified hay must be marked either with Montana Certified Weed Free Twine or can be tagged by the bale. Both forms of identification are available through the office.
Beaverhead County 4-H Building Rental Policy:
Groups allowed use or rent of the facility and fees: (Fees are requested to assist with paying for lighting, heating, maintenance and janitorial expenses.)
1. Adult-Supervised Youth Groups (Scouts, School Clubs, etc.)
2. Nonprofit and/or Community Service Organizations or Groups
3. Community Public Meetings and/or Training sponsored by the County
4. Government Meetings and/or Training
5. For Profit Individuals and Organizations or Groups
6. Parties, Wedding Receptions, etc.
7. $10.00/ hour up to 6 hours for funerals, baby showers, and producer meetings.
The tables and chairs will not be taken out of the 4-H building except for 4-H functions.
Please be respectful of the neighbors and keep music and noise at a non-disruptive level. Also, in order to protect the walls, please do not use tacks or nails - straight pins are okay.
Please remove all garbage from the building and put it in the dumpsters located outside and sweep and mop the floors if necessary.
Keys and use arrangements can be obtained by contacting the Beaverhead County Extension Office in the courthouse at 683-3785. If you have any questions, please call or stop by.