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a publication of Montana State University Extension Winter 2019


How to Prevent Ice Dams From Damaging a Home FAMILY TIME

Five Tips for Connecting with Kids

Are Montana's Farms and Ranches Getting Bigger?

EDITORIAL COMMITTEE Sara Adlington Jason Stutzman Josie Evenson Millie Veltkamp Jesse Fulbright Mat Walter Mandie Reed Wendy Wedum Adam Sigler Roubie Younkin LINE & INTERIM MANAGING EDITOR Sara Adlington CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Katelyn Andersen Megan Van Emon Carli Davis Roubie Younkin Chris Dorsi Jeanne Rankin Kim Kompel Joel Schumacher Rose Malisani John Culbertson Dara Palmer Brianna Routh THANK YOU TO OUR REVIEWERS Campbell Barrett Barb Allen Tommy Bass Colleen Buck Dave Brink Adriane Good Dan Lucas George Haynes Tim Fine Kate Fuller Allison Kosto Chief Jason Revisky, Inga Hawbaker Hyalite Fire Dept. Julianne Snedigar Chief Gary Mahugh, Shelley Mills Creston Fire Dept. Kelton Jensen Suzanne Stluka Duke Elliott Sheila Friedrich

Fling wide our colors bright and true, sunlight gold and ether blue! The colors blue and gold have always signified the land-grant university mission to me, with degrees from, and the past 13 years of my Extension career spent at South Dakota State University. I am excited to be a Bobcat, and proud to now wear the blue and gold for MSU Extension. Thank you for ‘flinging wide’ the blue and gold welcome mat and acquainting me with your wonderful state and all Extension has to offer. I have been on the road across Montana, spending time in communities, and on campus, seeking to understand all that is MSU Extension, which you get a glimpse of in Lives & Landscapes. I am excited to continue my learning journey, and to collaborate on Extension programs, projects, and research.

As we enter the holiday season and prepare for a new year, I think of the color green, for it symbolizes life, harmony, safety, and renewal. The blue and gold colors of our university produce the color green, which appears in daily Extension work in many ways. It surrounds us with healthy nutrition choices, and is understood to be one of the most peaceful colors to the human eye; it is both the color of life and renewal in agriculture work and nature, and it demonstrates growth and harmony in our work with individuals across the lifespan. Wishing you peace this holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Suzanne Stluka is the Associate Director of MSU Extension. She has worked in Extension for 13 years leading efforts in public health, community health and development, nutrition, and local foods systems.

Copyright © 2019 by Montana State University. All rights reserved. Excerpts from this magazine may be reprinted with permission from the Managing Editor. Please provide appropriate credit to Montana State University Extension and supply copies of printed materials to the editor. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration. Montana State University Extension is an ADA/EO/AA/Veteran’s Preference Employer and Provider of Educational Outreach. Common chemical and trade names are used in this publication for clarity of the reader. Inclusion of a common chemical or trade name does not imply endorsement of that particular product or brand of herbicide and exclusion does not imply non-approval.

featured contributor

Roubie Younkin

Younkin is a Youth Development and Family and Consumer Science agent in Valley County. She helps plan and implement a five-county 4-H camp, hosts 4-H Afterschool classes, educates high school students in leadership and STEM topics, and helps provide college credits and renewal units through Teacher Workshops. She invites participation in healthy living programs and has coordinated programs in northeastern Montana to increase awareness of dementia. Younkin has an animal science bachelor’s degree from MSU-Bozeman and earned her Master of Science in Elementary Education from MSU-Billings. She also operates a cattle ranch near Glasgow where she shares a passion for livestock with her four children.

Contents 04 Five Ways to Create Meaningful Connections with Children 06 How to Prevent Roof Damage from Winter Ice Buildup 08 Featured Montanan: Jerry Marks 10 Are Montana's Farms and Ranches Getting Bigger? 12 The Dangers of Rabies 12 Livestock Transportation Accidents


14 What Are Haylage and Baleage for Cattle? 16 The Importance of Vitamins 18 Why You Should Let Kids Fail 20 A Look at Montana's Pesticide Waste Disposal Program 22 Master Gardener Q&A 23 Ask Steward

10 Have an idea for a story or a question for Ask Steward or our Master Gardeners? E-mail: Phone: 406.994.2502

Lives & Landscapes is published quarterly by Montana State University Extension. Also available online at To receive a free online subscription, or purchase a print subscription, visit:



Scheduling Family Time

Five Ways to Create Meaningful Connections with Children By Kim Kompel PHOTO CREDIT: KATELYN ANDERSEN

For more information regarding how to create better relationships, contact the author at

Are you exhausted and overwhelmed by all that needs attention and yet feel guilty for not creating quality family time? Do evening routines end in frustration or even shouting matches? How can a family deal with the responsibilities of daily life and align with values of family and emotional connection?


interest and other websites tout fun activities for families to create meaningful connection, and summer family vacations are advertised everywhere. But are those the best way to create quality family time? Maybe not. To find meaningful ways to keep your family plugged in with each other, consider practicing specific everyday habits that promote emotional connection without testing online trends or expensive travel. Finding ways to make meaningful connection with your child helps create children who are not only cooperative, but also more respectful, kind, confident human beings who learn to manage the challenges of life well and will also enjoy being with their family in the future. Consider ways to weave family connection into the day with habits that show kids they matter and are loved. Tasks come and go, but the accomplishment of strong family connection leaves a positive legacy. Practice everyday playfulness and laughter Whether going to the grocery store together or cleaning up dinner dishes, focusing on the


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value of family connection instead of just the task at hand is an opportunity for playfulness and laughter. Laughter is considered to be a great way to connect with others, especially if it is not at the expense of anyone. Consider how your family could invite playfulness into everyday moments and build on your unique interests and routines. When you hear yourself thinking there is no time for goofing around, it may actually be the best time to take a few minutes to do a goofball jig or not take life so seriously. Practice routines and spontaneity Routines help decrease problem behaviors and provide a sense of security to children. However, adding some spontaneity while still maintaining responsibilities prevents rigidity and adds a sense of fun and connection. During daily routines when a child makes a request, how could you say yes to some part of the request? Are you willing to play a few minutes of video games with your child and show them that what they enjoy matters? Kids who feel like they matter learn to care about what matters to others.

Practice affection Hugs, pats on the arm and smiles send the message to children that they are loved. Even with teens who may roll their eyes, a quick side hug or smooch on their head (or shoulder if they are tall) is a great way to connect in the flurry of busy lives. Also, never underestimate the importance of tucking in a child at bedtime, even teenagers. A hug and verbalizing something you appreciate about your child at the end of the day has lasting impact on how they will feel about themselves in the future.

Kim Kompel, BCC is a board-certified life & relationship coach who has dedicated her life’s work to creating stronger marriages and families.

Consider ways to weave family connection into the day with habits that show kids they matter and are loved.



Practice being present and listening Being present means putting down your technology or stopping what you are doing to listen. A child at any age needs to know you are listening with empathy and understanding, versus listening to judge or give quick-fix answers or lectures. Encourage them to share what is on their mind. Repeat back to them what they shared to make sure you got it right. As they share more, summarize and reflect back to them what they have said; this very important step lets them know they are heard. Kids may choose to share or need you at challenging times in the day, such as rushing to activities, making dinner or late at night when you are exhausted. However, those are the moments when your actions either send a message that you care or you are too busy and dismissive. Work toward noticing these moments to practice being present and listening.

Practice validation When kids are upset, withdrawn or misbehaving are useful moments for creating meaningful connection. The behavior may indicate they are struggling with something and if you discipline them before identifying and validating their struggle, you may miss something that creates more hurt and misbehavior. Inquire about what happened and help them label what they may be feeling. Then empathize with their feelings, without trying to fix the situation, regardless of how insignificant the situation may seem. They need to hear that emotion is okay to feel and that struggle can be tough. Kids will consider suggestions more often if they know their perspective is understood without judgment. If you need to set limits due to misbehavior, let children know that all feelings are acceptable but not all behavior is acceptable, and help them problem-solve ways of dealing with big emotions. For example, say “What your friend said was very hurtful. I can see why you were so hurt and angry that you hit them. It is okay to feel hurt and angry, but it is not ok to hit others. What could you do instead when you feel hurt and angry because someone has hurt you?” 

winter 2019 LIVES



Preventing Ice Dams


How to Prevent Roof Damage from Winter Ice Buildup By Chris Dorsi

Ice dams are peculiar. In mid-winter, when most water in Montana is bound in snow and ice, water comes running into the house. This is counterintuitive because a roof would normally leak during rainy weather, not snowy winter. Ice dams are annoying because sometimes the battle to remove them can last for years. And they’re destructive, potentially causing thousands of dollars in home damage. However, once understood, ice dams can be prevented in most homes.

Proper insulation Homeowners who battle ice dams often discover that not everyone agrees on the cause or solution. Calls to contractors or appeals to friends can yield conflicting advice. “Shovel your roof.” “Install heattape.” “Remove the gutters.” “Insulate the attic.” “Replace the shingles.” Who IS correct?


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How do ice dams form? Ice dams form when a winter roof is warm enough in some areas to melt snow and create liquid water, but cold enough near the edges to re-freeze that water and form a dam. Then more water backs up behind the dam and runs under the shingles into the home, where it can saturate attic insulation, stain drywall or plaster, and encourage mold and mildew growth. It’s wise to find the cause of ice dams and take action to solve them before significant damage occurs.

Interior heat melts snow on the roof. Ice along roof edges blocks meltwater from draining off the roof. Meltwater then pools and leaks through the roof.

Since the root cause of most ice dams is heat leaving the home and melting snow on the roof, the basic fix is to keep heat away from the roof. Ideally a home has a thick blanket of insulation above the ceiling that slows heat transfer. It’ll also have a continuous air barrier that keeps warm house air from entering the attic. But many homes don’t have sufficient insulation or an effective air barrier—and some of the biggest gaps in this thermal boundary can be in the attic where they feed the cycle of ice dam formation. Trouble Spot #1: Insulation at the Edges In houses with slanted roofs, the thinnest attic insulation is at the home’s edges where the roof meets the walls. It’s a hard place to insulate properly, and not all builders pay attention to this problem area during initial construction. What’s the Fix? If a home has minimal attic insulation, adding more insulation can solve the problem. A home should have 16–20 inches of loose-fill or batt insulation, and as much as the structure will allow at the edges. Better than loose-fill or batts, it is sometimes possible to install foam insulation at the edges to get a boost in insulating value. Foam insulation has about twice the R-value (insulating power or capacity to resist heat) per inch of loosefill or batt insulation, making it a go-to material to upgrade attic insulation edges. Trouble Spot #2: Air Leakage A home’s ceiling should prevent heated air from leaving the living space. Though a ceiling assembly is ideally airtight, the reality of construction methods and subsequent maintenance activities leaves many ceilings full of visible and hidden holes. These passageways carry air and heat into the attic, where they contribute to the formation of ice dams. What’s the Fix? The easiest way to spot this construction defect is to tour the attic. Look for openings in framing that lead down into the home. These could be at the tops of walls, above cabinets, around stairways, or where pipes and wires pass through the ceiling. An even better way to find hidden air pathways for heat and air is to use a blower door and/or

infrared camera. These specialized tools, used by energy auditors, give a simple version of “x-ray vision.” When you find air pathways from the house to the attic, seal them to slow the flow of air. § Don’t worry about little stuff: cracks of ¼-inch or less don’t tend to be consequential in formation of ice dams. § For cracks of ¼-inch to 2-inches, use cans of spray foam from the hardware store. § For larger openings, cut pieces of drywall or rigid foamboard to fit the holes, then seal the edges with canned foam or caulking. § Do not seal around chimneys since these sometimes have intentional air spaces that keep them cool. Who you should call The first step in solving ice dam problems is to take a close look at the attic to identify where the insulation or air barrier are ineffective. If you’re comfortable doing so, get a ladder and bright light and take a look. If you don’t feel safe doing this inspection, get professional help. Energy auditors or insulation specialists are often the best people to call. If calling for professional help, ask a few questions:


§ Will they go into the attic to assess the problem? § Do they use a blower-door and infrared camera to detect air leakage? § Will they address the usual suspects of thin insulation and excess air movement? Ice dams are solvable Don’t suffer through ice dams. A few small icicles are okay: in fact they’re a normal sign of winter. But if there is water leaking into a home and staining walls and ceilings, it’s a problem worth fixing. The solution is almost always a combination of improved insulation and air-sealing in the attic.  Chris Dorsi is the director of the Montana Weatherization Training Center.

winter 2019 LIVES



Featured Montanan

Jerry Marks: 50 Years of Innovation By Katelyn Andersen

Jerry Marks, an MSU Extension agent serving Missoula County since 1969, is celebrating a 50-year career of innovation to address local needs and empower people to make changes they envision for the community. One of his final projects serving the people of Montana is the creation of a new facility for MSU Extension, the Weed District, Conservation District and the Missoula Insectarium and Butterfly House, planned for construction in 2020. PHOTO CREDIT: KELLY GORHAM/MSU NEWS SERVICE


ix days after Jerry Marks walked into the Montana State University (MSU) Extension office in Missoula County, Neil Armstrong was walking on the moon. At that time, interest in science and the desire to explore new worlds was high. The excitement was something Marks sought throughout his innovative career with MSU Extension in Missoula. Marks grew up on a farm near Townsend, MT. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Production, Agriculture Science from MSU. He studied Public Administration at University of Montana (UM). His career as the agriculture Extension agent serving Missoula County began in 1969 and he still has a few programs he’d like to complete before he retires from MSU Extension. Building programs with people is a very important role for Extension agents to use in the communities they serve. Marks is known for his ‘building programs with people’ style, often working through complex issues. He is credited for creating numerous jobs vital to agriculture, horticulture and community development due to his belief in the power of individuals and organizations working together to create change. He calls this the “co-learning model,” he believes when people are actively involved in the process


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to develop and market a program, the synergy created makes impactful change. Making change happen The people of Missoula County were as interested as Marks in turning ideas into action and making change happen. In the first five years of his career, Marks assisted in building capacity of programs to reach more individuals and broaden the impacts of 4-H, forestry and horticulture. In those short five years, he adjusted the structure of the 4-H Council by increasing the number of committees and marketing the 4-H program, which increased youth enrollment by 30 percent. Marks played a role with forestry industry leaders in establishing the Extension Service Forestry program, which began in 1983. This was accomplished by successfully competing for Federal Renewable Resource funding to establish an MSU presence on the UM Awareness of the Forest Stewardship Program resulted in the Missoula City Council creating an Urban Forestry Program.

Horticulture was another area of change in his early years. By the end of the 1960s, markets for locally-grown foods had declined and many truck gardeners, raising for local markets, went out of business. A new generation of growers began trying U-Pick and roadside stands. The interest in locally-grown foods led Marks to organize the first Montana Master Gardener Program in 1974. Over the next 40 years, he worked with the Missoula Community to establish community gardens, school gardens and helped growers market their produce. In 1985, the Missoula County Commissioners asked Marks to develop a county weed control program to combat widespread noxious weed infestations. He divided the county into 17 watershed areas and organized landowner groups and watershed groups where possible. Marks is known for his leadership in improving the science-based techniques of noxious weed management. As a result of his work, Montana land managers have a biological weed control program, and increased their knowledge of grazing systems and re-vegetation methods. Other milestones of his leadership include combining Extension and the Weed District to establish a cohesive education model of weed management and agricultural practices, and establishing a plant clinic to identify pest problems and implement sustainable methods of pest management. A new educational center One of his final Extension projects is the development of an educational center, which started after he attended an Extension conference in Casper, WY, in the 1990s. The Extension office in Casper had classrooms, learning laboratories, a teaching kitchen and auditorium. Marks wanted a similar learning environment for Missoula and the surrounding area. Now, 25 years later, construction of the Missoula County educational center will start in 2020. It will include 2.5 acres of education gardens, a master gardener

lab, outdoor classroom, demonstration kitchen, conference rooms, an insectarium and butterfly house, as well as staff offices for Extension, the Weed District and the Missoula Conservation District. Colleagues have recognized Marks with several distinguished achievement awards during his career, including the National Association of County


Agricultural Agents “Hall of Fame” for “his leadership and commitment to excellence in serving as an Extension educator during a distinguished career and for outstanding humanitarian efforts beyond the normal call of duty.” Marks and his wife, Sharon, have two children and three grandchildren. Their household is one of sewing arts, growing plants, creative cooking and supporting Missoula’s musical arts community. They have expanded their world view with their travels, learning about other cultures.

Architectural rendering of the Missoula Insectarium and Butterfly House, planned for construction in 2020.

The landscape of Montana has literally changed over the last 50 years due to the work and innovation of Jerry Marks. There are many stories of struggle and success that he could share with those willing to listen. One might learn of his project to spray “Go Cats” across Mount Sentinel in Missoula, home to the “M” Trail. Or of the time he helped landowners rally to develop Harper’s Bridge on the west side of Missoula. It is a guarantee, though, that his story will include his “Marks-isms” and a theme of empowering people to make life-long change.  Katelyn Andersen is an MSU Extension agent in Ravalli County.

MSU President Dr. Waded Cruzado (left) with Marks. PHOTO CREDIT: KELLY GORHAM/MSU NEWS SERVICE

winter 2019 LIVES



Farm Size

Are Montana's Farms and Ranches Getting Bigger? By Joel Schumacher PHOTO CREDIT: MARKO MANOUKIAN

Montana’s agricultural operations have been changing in size since the first homesteaders arrived more than a century ago. Advances in technology that improve efficiency are probably the most significant contributor to changes in operation size.


hese advances have come in the form of tractor and equipment capabilities, improved genetics for livestock, seed production and variety improvements, better fertilizers and pesticides, and the introduction of Global Positioning Systems (GPS), among others. Every few months, someone mentions that changing technology has enabled big operations to get bigger, while smaller operations, unable to adopt the technology changes, are having a hard time making it. Is this true? Land in farms Every five years, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducts the Census of Agriculture. The 2017 Census is a treasure trove of information about agriculture and provides the opportunity to look at this issue from a few different angles. “Land in Farms” data is useful for exploring this farm size issue. Land in Farms includes pasture, fallow, and crop land for all agricultural operations, whether the land is owned or rented. Total land in farms in Montana was 58.1 million acres in 2017, which was a decline of 2.7% from 2012 (Figure 1). Farms with less than 180 acres accounted for 1.1% of all land in farms, which is the same as in 2012. Land in farms between 180 and 1,000 acres


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declined from 5.1% in 2012 to 4.6% in 2017. Land in farms between 1,000 and 4,999 acres also declined, from 25.1% to 23.5%. The largest farms (over 5,000 acres) increased slightly in total acres and from 68.8% to 70.8% of all acres. This indicates that the very smallest farms are stable in terms of total acres but are a very small portion all land in farms. The largest farms are gaining slightly in total acres and share of all acres. Both categories of mid-sized farms saw declines in total acreage, although the number of mid-sized farms increased slightly (Figure 2). Cattle operations Evaluating the size of cattle operations in Montana is another way to examine the changing size of Montana agricultural operations. A total of 11,400 Montana ranches reported owning 2,518,571 beef cattle in 2017. The number of ranches declined by 445 (3.8%) and the number of cattle declined by 115,160 (4.4%) since 2012. The only increase in number of ranches was for those with herd sizes between 200 to 500 head (Figure 3). Another way to look at cattle operations is in terms of the percentage of the state’s cattle raised on different sized operations (Figure 4). These data tell a similar story that the only growth appeared in the

mid-sized operations. The data also point out that the largest operations (over 1,000 cattle) control the largest portion of Montana’s cattle inventory. In 2017, 8,013 ranches reported having an inventory of less than 200 head. Collectively, these operations own 16% of Montana’s cattle. About 2,160 ranches reported cattle inventory between 100 and 499. These operations own 27% of Montana’s cattle, up from 23% in 2012. Over 1,225 ranches reported owning more than 500 animals. These large operations own 57% of Montana’s cattle. Trends over time Are Montana agricultural operations increasing in size? When examining total land controlled by Montana agricultural operations over the past

1–179 Acres

180–999 Acres

1000–4999 Acres

5000+ Acres

Figure 1: Total Acreage in Farms by Farm Size

five years, the answer is yes. Although total land in farms declined by over 2%, the largest operations (over 5,000 acres) increased their collective holdings by about 0.1%. The very smallest farms (under 180 acres) held steady while the farms in the middle declined in total acreage by over 9%. For cattle producers the trend is different. The sweet spot appears to be in the middle. Those operations with herds of 200 to 500 head are becoming more common and represent a larger share of all cattle production in Montana. The share of cattle in smaller and larger operations both declined slightly in recent years.  Joel Schumacher is an MSU Extension Associate Specialist in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics.

1–179 Acres

180–999 Acres

1000–4999 Acres

5000+ Acres


Figure 2: Number of Farms by Farm Size 2017

1–49 Head

50–199 Head 200–499 Head 500–999 Head 1000+ Head

Figure 3: Number of Cattle Ranches by Herd Size

1–49 Head

50–199 Head 200–499 Head 500–999 Head 1000+ Head

Figure 4: Cattle Inventory by Herd Size

winter 2019 LIVES



A Closer Look If you’ve seen the American film Old Yeller, you may recall the heartbreaking scene where Travis has to euthanize Old Yeller after the beloved dog was bitten by a rabid wolf. While the story serves as entertainment, the message and danger of rabies is real.


The Dangers of Rabies

abies is a deadly virus that affects the nervous system of mammals. The virus can be spread through saliva when an infected mammal bites another mammal or when saliva encounters wounds, eyes, nose, or the mouth of another mammal. Once the mammal contracts rabies, it travels through the nerves to the brain. Rabies can be fatal if left untreated and mammals showing outward signs of rabies normally die.

A semi-trailer carrying calves tipped on its side on HWY 287.


In the event that a domestic or livestock animal is suspected to have contacted rabies and is euthanized, brain tissue samples of the infected mammal should be sent to the Montana Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Bozeman, MT. It is best to work with a local veterinarian to collect fresh brain tissue from the infected mammal. Veterinarians are trained to collect the sample and know proper protocol to submit to the laboratory. Veterinarians will submit the prepared head of small mammals

Livestock move all over Montana and the U.S. every day with domestic and international loads in vans, truck beds, horse and stock trailers, and semi-trailers. Responding to any livestock accident is unique to the species involved, type of transportation, geography and type of road.


Livestock Transportation Accidents By Jeanne Rankin, DVM

By Rose Malisani

Mammals infected with rabies may show an array of signs, which include aggression, drooling, staggering, paralysis, and seizure. While aggression is common, signs of affection, self-mutilation and sensitivity to light may also be expressed. A common scenario for suspecting rabies is when a nocturnal animal is seen during daylight and exhibiting signs of rabies listed above.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of rabies-related human deaths in the United States has declined, from more than 100 annually in the early 1900s to just one or two per year. Rabies is a larger concern worldwide with more than 59,000 deaths per year. Most of these deaths occur in Africa and Asia when children come in contact with feral dogs.

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such as skunks, dogs, and cats, while the intact brain of large mammals such as horses and cows will be submitted. The entire carcass of smaller mammals such as bats are required to be submitted to the Montana Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

Rabies can spread through the saliva of infected mammals.


uman safety is always the priority, and animal evacuation and care are secondary unless the loose animals create human safety issues. Having a community plan on how to respond to these accidents will greatly increase the survivability and humane treatment of the animals. § What species of animals? How many? § What kind of trailer? § Can a portable corral be set up on scene? § Are volunteers with stock trailers available to load animals? § Where will animals be taken for immediate shelter and feed? The plan should identify species-specific animal handlers, type and location of containment needed on scene (piglets or rodeo bulls?), alternate transportation, and identify a location to shelter and feed animals until they can continue to their destination.

The good news is that rabies can be prevented through vaccinations. To decrease the chance of a domestic animal contracting rabies, contact your local veterinarian to place a pet on a vaccination program. Also, observe your pet for bite marks if they roam outside. Do not feed pets outdoors, as food can attract skunks, raccoons, foxes and other potential virus-carrying species. Another way to protect yourself and domestic pets from the rabies virus is to bat-proof your home; bats are a common vector for the virus. Consult a veterinarian immediately if you suspect a pet has been bitten. Vaccinated domestic pets should be given a booster vaccine and

A flexible resource list will include names and phone numbers of volunteers who can provide species-specific handling skills, portable corrals, stock trailers, as well as veterinarians for medical or euthanasia recommendations, and brand inspectors for ownership issues and potential euthanasia. Everyone who responds to a livestock transport accident has a different goal and sometimes they are contrary to each other. For example, highway officials want to get the road opened for traffic as quickly as possible, so they may cut fences and allow cattle from an overturned truck to mix with a local rancher’s cattle. This can create a high stress situation among the local cattle and potentially introduce disease to a disease-free herd. If the load was of international origin, a federal veterinarian must be called as these animals must not be mixed with any

kept under owner observation for 45 days. Unvaccinated pets should be euthanized, or, consult a veterinarian for a quarantine period. Humans who have been bitten must wash the wound vigorously with soap and flush with water for 15 minutes. Disinfect immediately with iodine or ethanol after washing. Securing the mammal that bit you is also extremely important. Leave the head intact for testing if the animal is put down. Most importantly, contact a physician immediately after being in contact with a mammal suspected of having rabies. Remember that rabies is preventable through vaccinations and animal control. Be cautious when around mammals expressing signs of rabies and consult a veterinarian or physician if rabies is suspected or contact with an animal with rabies is confirmed.  Rose Malisani is an MSU Extension agent in Cascade County.

others and may need to be quarantined. In some situations, animals may need to be humanely euthanized, but that decision should be made with the owner and a veterinarian and may need to be carried out by the sheriff or state brand inspector. MSU Extension facilitates training for local responders, livestock producers, law enforcement and Extension agents through a table-top and functional exercise program called Rolling Cows and Pigs. For more information, contact Dr. Jeanne Rankin at jeanne.rankin@, 406-465-5142, or Tommy Bass at, 406-994-5733.  Jeanne Rankin, DVM, is an MSU Extension Associate Specialist in Animal Health, Ag Security & Animal Disaster

winter 2019 LIVES



Alternative Feed

What Are Haylage and Baleage for Cattle? By Megan Van Emon PHOTO CREDIT: MARKO MANOUKIAN

Bales are wrapped with 6 layers of 1mil plastic to provide proper fermentation and a stable product.

Montana’s last mild summer with more regular rainfall has led producers to investigate feed alternatives. When there is little time between rain events to put up quality hay, some producers have begun to consider haylage and baleage as alternative feed to dry hay.


aylage is hay that is chopped and packed within a silo or bunker to complete the silage, or fermentation, process. The key steps for ensiling hay are similar to silage. Storage maintenance is the most important factor in creating a quality product for cattle. Haylage and baleage do not need to completely cure, they only need to wilt to 35–55% dry matter. Feed quality of ensiled forage is directly related to when the forage was harvested. Proper packing of the forage aids in the fermentation process and reduces the ability to allow oxygen to cause spoilage. Baleage is created by baling partially dried hay and wrapping the bales in plastic. If you are considering baleage, there is added cost with a bale wrapper and the plastic needed. Previous work has suggested that when bales contain 40–60% moisture, a minimum of 6 layers of 1 mil plastic are needed, and reducing the chances of puncturing the plastic wrap aids in providing proper fermentation and creating a stable product.


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Proper moisture content provides the fermentation bacteria a better opportunity to complete the fermentation process. Dry forage does not provide sufficient moisture for bacteria in fermentation, but can lead to fungal growth, which will reduce feed quality. Additionally, mature forages have less fermentable carbohydrates, which do not allow for proper fermentation. Moving bales after wrapping them in plastic also requires special care. Equipment may puncture or spear the plastic, creating opportunities for air to enter the bale and cause spoilage. Bale density can also play a role in spoilage. Dense, tightly wrapped bales are less likely to spoil compared to bales with lower density. Ensiling takes 2–6 weeks to complete, if properly packed. When feeding baleage or haylage, only expose the forage enough to feed in 1–2 days. If baleage or haylage has been exposed to oxygen during the fermentation stage, it is recommend to have a sample submitted to determine mold growth and screen for potential mycotoxins.


If the forage was harvested and packed at the proper moisture level, this product can be a great alternative to feeding dry hay. Haylage and baleage quality are highly dependent on plant stage at harvest. Quality is relatively similar to dry hay, as forages mature, quality decreases and quantity increases. According to the 'Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle,' alfalfa haylage is approximately 41% dry matter, 63% total digestible nutrients, and 20% crude protein. Length of cut can impact storage and feed digestibility. Optimal chopped length for haylage would be 3/8-inch with about 20% of the particles being longer than 1.5 inches. Chopping forages to smaller lengths results in increased passage rate, reduced rumination, and could potentially cause acidosis. Grass silage is also a possibility for areas that receive excessive rain. Allowing grass to wilt to 65–72% moisture and chopping at 1/4-inch to 3/8-inch length is crucial for proper packing. Grass silage is ideally cut when the first stems begin to head out. Use caution that grass silage is not packed too wet, as it can lead to higher pH. Also, a secondary clostridial fermentation can lead to a foul odor and may increase protein breakdown.


Baleage may be an option if haylage is not. Baleage product is an excellent forage source for livestock, but cost and lack of baleage equipment can be deterrents. Baleage reduces the curing time for harvest and baling, reduces labor and handling costs when curing dry hay, and the potential for increased leaf retention within the bale leads to increased quality.

LEFT: Forage is loaded into a pit, ready to ensile. RIGHT: Chopped corn ready to be ensiled.

Disadvantages to baleage are the increased cost of harvesting and baling due to special equipment and supplies needed, and disposal of the plastic wrap. Haylage has an increased chance of spoilage, and maintaining plastic wrap integrity after baling and during bale transportation can be difficult. Feeding baleage is similar to feeding large round bales to livestock. Rolling baleage on the ground has similar losses to dry hay, approximately 50%. Livestock should consume a freshly unwrapped bale within 1–2 days. Once the bale is exposed to oxygen, spoilage may occur, which will result in an intake reduction. Baleage and haylage may be good alternatives to dry hay, especially in wet years in Montana. The quality of ensiled forage is only as good as how it was stored, so ensuring proper storage will aid in maintaining quality.  Megan Van Emon is an MSU Extension Beef Cattle Specialist.

winter 2019 LIVES




The Importance of Vitamins By Brianna Routh, PhD

Winters in northern states have less daylight and may cause seasonal depression, but that might not be the only thing affecting how you feel. Depleted vitamins can affect the body and how it functions.


itamins are key building blocks for maintaining good health across a lifespan. Here are some essential things to know: § Food is the best source for most vitamins. § Supplements may provide more of a vitamin than the body needs, which can lead to health problems § Vitamin deficiency is relatively uncommon in the United States § Some individuals are at higher risk for vitamin deficiency and may benefit from supplements or fortified foods The best way to meet vitamin needs is to eat a variety of foods using the USDA MyPlate ( guidelines. These foods provide a variety of complementary nutrients and fiber to benefit your body’s health and digestion. The recommendations from MyPlate (USDA) are: § At least half of the plate is a variety of fruits and vegetables § At least half of the grains are whole grains § Lean proteins (nuts, beans, low-fat dairy, poultry, low-fat meats, and eggs) Vitamin B12 is found almost exclusively in animal products and is important to nerve and blood cell function. Although most Americans get plenty of vitamin B12 in their diets, individuals may not consume or absorb enough B12 if they are eating vegan or vegetarian diets with extremely limited/no animal products.


a publication of Montana State University Extension

Folate is important at all stages of life, but it is particularly important for women who are or could become pregnant. In addition to fortified foods and/or supplements, folate should also come from a variety of food sources (leafy greens, legumes) to meet nutrient needs and promote healthy development. Vitamin C comes from a variety of fruits and vegetables (citrus fruits, broccoli, greens) and is important to our connective tissue, metabolism and immune system. Although vitamin C is often taken in large doses to prevent or treat the common cold, there is limited research to support the effectiveness of this; at most it may shorten a cold by one day. Since vitamin C is water-soluble, the excess consumed is sent back out instead of stored. Too much at one time can cause diarrhea, nausea, or stomach cramps (Harvard Health). Vitamin D is often known as the sunshine vitamin because the skin is able to produce this vitamin when it is exposed to sunlight. This means that unlike some of the other vitamins, our body can produce its own vitamin D. When sunlight is limited from shorter days or less skin exposure like during Montana winters, it is important to help the body get some of that vitamin D from food sources. There are only a few foods that naturally have vitamin D (egg yolks, liver, some fish). You may also benefit from fortified foods (fortified milk, margarine, and some cereals) or supplements as a good source of vitamin D and its partner calcium.



Major Function

Deficiency Symptom

Vitamin B12

Animal products, some fortified cereal

Helps body use folate and dietary fats, protects nerve and blood cell functioning

Anemia, poor nerve function

Folate (folic acid, folacin)

Leafy greens, organ meat, beans, orange juice

Helps body make DNA and use protein

Anemia, inflammation of tongue, diarrhea, poor growth, nervous system birth defects

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid, ascorbate)

Citrus fruit, broccoli, strawberries, greens

Helps body make protein and hormones, maintain nerve health, acts as an antioxidant

Scurvy, poor wound healing, bleeding gums

Vitamin D

Egg yolk, liver, fish oils, tuna, salmon, fortified margarine and milk, sunlight

Helps body use calcium and phosphorus, maintenance of bone strength

Bone loss, muscle weakness/pain, lower immunity, tiredness

When to Take Supplements Some individuals who might benefit from regularly checking their vitamin levels include: § Older adults § Pregnant women § People with food insecurity § People with restrictive diets § People with high alcohol or drug consumption § People with chronic digestive diseases preventing absorption such as Celiac or Crohn’s disease

Brianna Routh, PhD, is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and an MSU Extension Food and Nutrition Specialist

For more nutritional information, visit USDA MyPlate at


Before making a dietary or supplement change, it is important to talk to a medical provider.

A medical professional can help determine if these changes might have any unintended consequences on your diet, medications, or other health conditions. Everyone’s body is unique, but we all need vitamins to help our body systems function at their best! Your local Extension agent can help find resources to eat using the MyPlate guidelines and your medical team and local Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can help with individualized plans to meet vitamin and nutrient needs.

winter 2019 LIVES



First Attempts in Learning

Why You Should Let Kids Fail By Roubie Younkin

Sometimes the greatest lessons learned are not from overwhelming success but instead from the strategies and coping skills gained from disappointment when things don’t go as planned.


s adults it is our natural instinct to protect children from harm, hardship and feelings of failure. However, by stepping in and ensuring a path to success in every attempt, we actually deny children the opportunity to problem solve. With problems fixed before they contribute, children may end up thinking they aren’t capable of working through their mistakes to find a path to success. As youth practice reflecting on a first failed attempt, they can identify where they went wrong, make changes and try again, which leads to the development of resilience and learning perseverance. The end goal is not just success, but a lesson learned to avoid making the same mistake in the future. They also learn it is okay to take risks, try new things, and that failing is just one step on a path to success. When looking at the bigger picture, the shortterm pain of a poor decision is much easier to survive than the potential long-term devastation that could result from not understanding and accepting natural consequences. Having leeway to experience challenges—some self-inflicted, others imposed outside of their control—can teach a child life lessons in how to stand strong. Understanding that each action (or lack thereof) results in a


a publication of Montana State University Extension

Natural consequences can be the catalyst for a change in behavior that may lead to success in the next attempt. It is easy for adults to step in when consequences become apparent. This sets up a dangerous youth development pattern. When someone else removes a consequence, steps in to right a wrong or makes excuses for them, children learn they don’t have to take responsibility for their behavior, lack of effort or poor choice. A child’s lack of strategies because of “protected” experiences can lead to repeated failure. When faced with real consequences as a result of his or her actions, a child may experience unpleasant emotions and become upset. While these feelings of worry, fear, and disappointment are uncomfortable, they can lead to personal growth. This situation gives an opportunity for an adult to help the child cope with feelings by acknowledging them and figuring out the best way to move past them. This is especially important when discomfort involves friends and relationships. By teaching kids the tools to communicate with friends and other peers, they can be empowered with confidence and conflict resolution abilities to ensure success in future relationships. As rough as it may be, children need to experience struggle. They learn to persevere for the outcome they desire and to deal with disappointment when they fall short of a goal. It is not a parent or teacher’s role to ensure that kids have an easy, obstacle-free life. Instead it is to arrange safeguards when they are young to keep them from harm, then gradually reduce safeguards as they grow older and face more experiences to help instill coping and decision making skills. It can be effective to allow a child to fail while they have a good chance of learning from it, then help them implement a problem solving thought process for their next attempt. This can be applied in multiple examples —learning to read, feeding a lamb, growing a garden, attempting to pole vault or making friends. As caring adults in a learning process, it is our responsibility to provide a safe environment for children


natural consequence is one of the building blocks of developing capable people.

to try, fail and try again. It is crucial they have guidance through the process. They need support and model behaviors to think about and develop strategies to move toward success. Simply failing at something without improvement strategies to make change and plan better for the future is not positive development.

Having leeway to experience challenges—some self-inflicted, others imposed outside of their control—can teach a child life lessons.

Not reaching a goal, or losing a friend because of a mistake, then learning from it, can build a child’s self-awareness, teach them to become a better self-advocate and give them courage to try again or try something new. Under the guidance of a caring adult, youth will develop into productive, capable adults facing the world with a toolkit of life skills.  Roubie Younkin is an MSU Extension Youth Development agent in Valley County.


winter 2019 LIVES



A Safer Montana

A Look At Montana's Pesticide Waste Disposal Program By Carli Davis PHOTO CREDIT: JANELL BARBER

For questions on where to take waste pesticides, or for proper disposal requirements, find information online from MDA: https://agr.

Are you one of those individuals who saves items thinking to use them at a later date but never do? Saving that last little bit of an herbicide thinking it will come in handy later? Or, do you have containers that are unlabeled, and you have no idea what they are or how to get rid of them?


n 1994, the Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) created a pesticide waste disposal program to offer an environmentally responsible way to dispose of waste pesticides to avoid harm to human health, families, pets, livestock, and drinking water. The disposal program is a non-regulatory service program that keeps pesticide waste out of Montana’s landfills and offers pesticide users the opportunity to dispose of unwanted and unusable pesticides in a safe way so there are no penalties. The legislation authorizing the collection program was sponsored by Montana's agricultural industry and is funded, in part, by license fees that private, commercial, and government pesticide applicators and pesticide dealers pay to become licensed. What is considered a pesticide? The Environmental Protection Agency defines a pesticide as any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest, or intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant, or dessicant. Examples of pesticides include herbicides (e.g., 2,4-D or


a publication of Montana State University Extension

glyphosate), insecticides (e.g., pyrethrum or imidacloprid) and fungicides (e.g., sulfur or copper). Since 1994, more than 638,600 pounds of waste pesticide have been collected from more than 1,700 participants. Amounts collected have ranged from one pound to over 7,000 pounds. Common pesticides that have been brought to collection events include insecticides such as DDT, chlordane, and pentachlorophenol and herbicides like 2,4-D and glyphosate. Strychnine has been the primary rodenticide collected. Any pesticide, pesticide mixes, and unknown pesticides are accepted into the program. The program will not accept other hazardous waste such as used oils, paints, antifreeze, etc. What is pesticide waste? Any pesticide that is unusable as originally intended is considered waste. Pesticides become unusable when they have become contaminated, if the registration has been canceled, or if the labels were lost or have become unreadable. If you

have unwanted pesticide products, store them safely and dispose of them as soon as possible. Dispose of pesticides as instructed on the product label under the "Storage and Disposal" statement. If any product remains in the container it must be disposed of as hazardous waste. If you have pesticide waste, keep the pesticide in its original container with the labels attached. Always store it safely until it can be properly disposed of. A pesticide that can no longer be used must be disposed in a way that protects human health and the environment. Proper disposal of pesticides can prevent accidents to human health and the environment and the longer a pesticide is held in storage, the greater the risk of accidental environmental damage. Old pesticides or pesticides that are stored improperly can expose children, livestock or pets to serious injury or even death. Containers may corrode, causing pesticides to leak. Fire or flooding may cause a pesticide release that can contaminate air, soil and water, resulting in costly cleanup.

Place pesticide containers in a position so they won't shift or spill. Line the transport area of a vehicle or provide a secondary containment (e.g., storage bin). This reduces the chance of a spill in case of an accident. Cover and secure the load if hauling in a vehicle with an open back. Do not transport pesticides in the passenger section of a vehicle. Keep pesticides away from groceries and food for animals. Go straight to the disposal location. Drive slowly and carefully. PHOTO CREDIT: DANIELS COUNTY MSU EXTENSION

How to participate The Pesticide Waste Disposal Program is held annually in September. Montana is divided into three sections consisting of a western, central, and eastern district. Four or five collection sites are chosen, alternating in each of Montana’s three waste pesticide disposal districts. Publicity for each event precedes collections in each district. For example, the disposal events will be located in the western district in 2020, the central district in 2021, and in the eastern district in 2022. Participants are not limited to the district they reside in. Any participant can come to any event depending on how far they want to travel.

Follow these safety precautions when transporting pesticides:

Participants must pre-register their unusable pesticide with the MDA before the collection event so the collection can be managed safely and efficiently. Pre-register online at or contact Carli Davis at (406) 465-0531 or e-mail Acceptance into the program is on a first-come, first-served basis and early registration is encouraged. Cost for participating is substantially lower than costs incurred through other disposal options. The cost of disposal is based on the weight of the waste pesticide and its container. Fees that are collected help pay for the program. The first 200 pounds per registrant are free and cost is $1 per pound after that.  Carli Davis works for the Montana Department of Agriculture.

winter 2019 LIVES



Master Gardener Q&A


What is the best way to clean garden tools for winter storage?

Tall - the plant will probably need a stake or support to keep it upright, especially in windy areas.

Ideally, we gardeners have been cleaning and sharpening our garden tools all throughout the season and can simply rinse off the last of the dirt and be set for next spring. While not many of us have time for that in between weeding, watering and harvesting, hopefully the garden tools can be restored with a few simple steps:

Treated seed - often painted a bright color for distinction, these seeds have been treated with a fungicide or insecticide to protect them from insects and pathogens once in the soil.

§ Hose or scrub off any remaining dirt or debris and allow tools to dry. § Clean pruners, saws, shears and hand tools with isopropyl alcohol to sanitize and remove any plant sap. Bleach is not recommended as it can pit the metal on tools, inviting in bacteria. § Use steel wool, sandpaper or a wire brush to remove any rust. If rust is extremely bad, the tool may need a soak in white vinegar for several hours. § Once rust is removed, sharpen tools with a file or sharpening stone. § If necessary, sand smooth any rough wooden handles and coat with linseed oil. § Lastly, wipe down the metal with a coat of oil or spray with a water displacing product to prevent future rust problems.


As a new gardener, I love looking at all the offerings in the seed catalogs, but it’s a bit overwhelming. Can you help guide me through the terminology?


Full of possibilities and the anticipation of warmer weather, browsing through seed catalogs is a great way for a gardener to spend a cold winter evening. It’s important to know how to decipher the garden jargon and disease codes within seed catalogs so you can get the best product for your needs. The following are some of the common terms you will see: Naturalizes or Vigorous - usually the plant will run wild, be prepared to continually manage the spread.

Heavy feeder - the plant requires more nutrients than most, be ready to fertilize! Fruit persists - for fruiting plants, the fruit stays on the plant throughout most of the season. This is important for reducing the maintenance of fruit litter in the garden. Determinate and indeterminate - typically concerning tomatoes, determinant plants will grow to a certain size and stop with all the fruit ripening at once. Indeterminate plants grow indefinitely and can get quite large, often requiring staking. They will produce fruit until killed by a hard frost. Hybrid (F, F1, F2) - hybrid seeds are a cross between two or more varieties. Saving hybrid seeds is not recommended as they will not produce plants true to type. Open-pollinated (OP) - these are pollinated by natural means as opposed to being cloned, and will produce true-to-type plants from seeds saved year to year (often relating to heirloom varieties). Days to harvest or Days to maturity - refers to the number of days after planting that one can expect the first harvest. TMV, TSWV - these are disease codes for Tobacco Mosaic Virus and Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus respectively, and when listed, the seed/plant is resistant to the disease. V, F, N, A, LB - disease code for Verticillium Wilt, Fusarium Wilt, nematodes, Anthracnose and Late Blight. Seeds with any of these designations will be resistant to the disease.

Do you have Master Gardener questions? Send them to:


a publication of Montana State University Extension

Ask Steward Don Wanaburn in Missoula County asks:

I’m going to construct a new outbuilding and am concerned about wildfire risk.What are the best materials and practices to consider for construction? John Culbertson, Director, Fire Services Training School: Most structures that burn during a wildfire are not ignited from a flaming fire front, but from embers, fire brands (pieces of burning wood), vegetation adjacent to the structure, or another nearby structure. These potential ignition sources can be reduced by addressing two primary considerations when building in an area of wildfire threat: ignition-resistant construction and vegetation management. FireSafe Montana’s Ignition Resistant Construction Guide is an excellent resource for smart construction and wildfire mitigation in the wildland urban interface. Ignition-resistant construction features There are many features to consider when building an ignitionresistant structure, some of the most important are listed. The roof covering should be comprised of materials that are highly resistant to ignition, such as: § Asphalt/fiberglass composition shingles § Metal § Clay tile § Slate § Concrete shingles

Attic vents are necessary to help regulate temperature and moisture. They can also be an avenue for embers to cause ignition in the attic. It is important that all attic vents have 1/8-inch metal screening to prevent ember intrusion. Vegetation management The 30 feet surrounding a structure is often referred to as the home ignition zone. In this area, if vegetation is not managed properly, a wildfire has a much higher probability of causing structure loss. In order to create a survivable space, vegetation in the home ignition zone should be carefully planned and maintained. Follow recommendations from FireSafe Montana. § Create a 30-foot survivable space around PHOTO CREDIT: DOMINIQUE WOODHAM the structure. § Rake up and remove pine needles and leaves within 30 feet of a structure. § Select plant species with fire resistant characteristics. Refer to MSU Extension publication Fire-Resistant Plants for Montana Landscapes (web link below). § Keep grasses mowed to a maximum height of 4 inches. § Incorporate landscaping designs to break up fuel continuity, such as paths, gravel mulch, and rock walls. § Pruning lower branches and removing ladder fuels will help keep fire from getting into the tops of trees. § Remove dead or diseased trees and brush.

Class A roofing includes the entire roof assembly, with the covering and underlayment. A Class A-rated roof will provide the highest resistance to ignition during a wildfire. NOTE: While non-combustible roofing materials are important, to be effective all combustible materials (leaves, branches, needles, cones, etc.) must be removed from the roof on a regular basis. This is especially important in valleys of the roof. Construction materials for siding, eaves, and soffits play a significant role in how likely a structure is to ignite. Recommended materials include: § Stone/rock, natural or fabricated § Cement fiber board § Metal § Stucco Gutters can collect leaves and pine needles and become a place for ember or fire brand ignition. Metal gutters with caps are recommended to prevent accumulation of gutter debris.

Want to learn more? We recommend: § Ignition Resistant Construction Guide (FireSafe Montana): § Fire Ratings for Roofing Materials (Extension): § FireSafe Montana website: § Fire-Resistant Plants for Montana Landscapes (MSU Extension): Products/Fire-Resistant-Plants-for-Montana-Landscapes__ MT200101AG.aspx

Please send us your questions! Email:

winter 2019 LIVES



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Responding to people under pressure, under the Big Sky. MSU Extension is working to support the mental health of Montanans of all ages, with resources offered through workshops and publications, on topics such as how to recognize warning signs of those in distress and plan a course of action. Find publications online at

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Lives and Landsapes Magazine - Winter 2019 Issue  

A publication of Montana State University Extension, featuring practical articles full of easy-to-apply information, Lives and Landscapes is...

Lives and Landsapes Magazine - Winter 2019 Issue  

A publication of Montana State University Extension, featuring practical articles full of easy-to-apply information, Lives and Landscapes is...