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Montana Ag: New tool for ranchers in the fight against cheatgrass

Montana Ag Network report for January 17
Posted at 10:53 AM, Jan 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-18 13:35:59-05

BILLINGS — Montana Ag Network report for Friday, January 17, 2020: New tool for ranchers in the fight against cheatgrass.

"Currently about 160 million acres of land here in the West are infested with cheatgrass," said Steve Saunders, Bayer Environmental Sciences. "And this has really reduced forage production that ranchers count on to put cheapest cost per pound to gain on their commercial cattle. These grasses, these winter annuals consume a lot of moisture and they cut production." So, Bayer's developed a new tool called Esplanade, which is basically treated out over the range. And it creates a residual blanket that inhibits the growth and stops the cheatgrass that not all the winter annuals. Those then don't emerge from the ground after treatment and nothing turns brown. So all of the native diversity is fully expressed. They grow and we see a three times increase in forage production generally across the range.