Montana Ag Network: Soybeans offer Montana farmers new opportunity

HARDIN – Raising soybeans in the Midwest isn’t anything new, but Montana farmers are excited for the opportunity to raise this row crop in wheat country.

“This year we’re hoping for 50 on the low end — 60, maybe 70 bushels soybean — and they were just blown away we could do that in Montana,” said Marcus Vogel.

Farmers in the Midwest have been raising soybeans for years but for Montana farmers it’s a new and exciting crop. “The markets are holding their strength when everything else is getting a little weak in the knees; it’s some great opportunities for the farmer,” said Vogel.

Torske Land & Livestock near Hardin traditionally raise barley, wheat, corn, and sugar beets,but this year decided to give soybeans a try.

“We decided to try them mainly because the markets have been good. There’s been more demand for beans then other small grains we’ve been raising,” Ross Torske said. “And they’re just a good rotation for everything else we’ve been raising.

Wheat has always been the number one crop raised in Montana but advancements in plant breeding and technology makes row crops like soybeans possible.

“Pioneer itself spends millions of dollars a day on corn and soybean [research and development]. So, if you kind of think about that how much time and effort goes into making sure these products get developed and meet the full potential to be the most beneficial to that farmer and be the highest yielding crops we can deliver that blows a guy away,” Vogel said.

For Montana farmers like Torske, soybeans didn’t require any new machinery, which just makes good economic sense.

“One reason we decided to plant them is all the equipment that we used is the same as we use for our winter wheat,” Torske said. “We will use our same combine, same header and our grain drill to plant them.”

Growers say that the combines will start rolling through Montana fields in late September and early October to begin harvesting the soybeans.

Montana farmers have planted around 10,000 acres of soybeans this year with delivery elevators located in Glendive, Three Forks, and Pompey’s Pillar.

MTN’s Russell Nemetz