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Montana Ag: Autumn Planting

BIG SANDY – Bob Quinn, most commonly known for creating the healthy food snack Kracklin’ Kamut, purchased a plot-seeder from MSU-Northern’s experiment station earlier this fall.

The Big Sandy organic farmer recently finished seeding an experimental plot of 100 lines of Kamut wheat grain and other various crops. The seeding was experimental because the grain is typically planted in April, not mid-October.

“What we’ve seen by planting some of the spring crops in the fall, is that we get a lot better start if they go through the winter,” Quinn said. “They produce a lot better yield and avoid the droughts and the early heat that we’ve been getting the last few years.”

In the fall of 2016, Quinn seeded spring wheat and a certain percentage survived the winter to produce a higher yield. Quinn said out of two heads of Kamut Khorason, the one planted in the winter has nearly twice as many kernels as the one planted in the spring.

Quinn said he’s copying many other species that have migrated north due to the changing climate. “We’re getting hotter sooner and the rains are stopping sooner and so it’s putting our spring grains into more and more risk,” he said.

While some people worry about the negative effects of climate change, the Big Sandy farmer faces the change with optimism. The results of this fall’s experiment plot will give Montana farmers a better idea of the potential success of planting spring crops later in the year.

MTN’s Russell Nemetz