North Dakota State University * Dickinson Research Extension Center
1133 State Avenue, Dickinson, ND 58601 Voice: (701) 483-2348 FAX: (701) 483-2005

1959 Annual Report


Our efforts to develop and improve the Agriculture in western North Dakota were stepped up in 1959. The most important and far reaching individual program that our efforts have been geared to is the improvement and expansion of livestock feeding, with the feeding out of beef cattle as the largest and most important phase of this program.

We must never lose sight of the fact that this enterprise is part of balanced agriculture and probably will only reach its greatest importance where it fits into the over all program.

The agricultural program is not complete in western North Dakota until our operators in general have a balance between small grain, livestock, and grass and legumes. This means either feeding the grain produced to the livestock raised on the farm or ranch or when the feed grain produced exceed the amount needed, either selling the grain not utilized or buying additional livestock to use up all feed grain raised.

This program of feeding out the livestock raised, will double the income from the cow herd for those who normally sell their calves. Those who feed out market cattle will augment their income more than those who market their feed grain as a cash crop.

An over all increase in our farm income is not going to be from one or two improvements in the farming operations but by new enterprises and many improvements which taken together substantially augment the farm income. The day of the easy dollar is gone and the operator who saves where ever he can will be the one who is successful. The new enterprises and improved organization can be extensive and in our work at the Dickinson Experiment Station we can do much to point the way in this direction.

Our overall program at the Dickinson Experiment Station is essentially as follows:


Two more payments are to be made on the SW1/4 of Section 32-140-96 which was purchased from Joe A. Kostelecky in 1957. This land was purchased for $12,000.00 and to date payments have been made in the amount of $7500.00, with two payments in the amount of $2250.00 each to be made on or about April 1, 1960 and April 1, 1961. These payments will be made from the oil lease payments of 25 cents per acre on 643.78 acres of Station land leased to the Atlantic Refining company, with the difference being made up by the income from sales of grain and livestock.

Our over all development program calls for an increase in the acreage of range land in the Badlands adjacent to Pyramid Park. We hope to secure this land through the Forestry Service in the not too distant future, which of course must also have the approval of local grazing Ass'n.

We will need about 480 acres additional which will give us a total of about 1120 acres of grazing land.

This will provide adequate grazing for 100 head of cows and their calves from between June 20 and July 1 to about October 1 each year. This will make it possible to divide our cow herd into three groups during the breeding season with all three groups in the same range area. As we are operating presently two-thirds of the herd is grazed in the Badland and one-third on our land at the Dickinson Experiment Station headquarters. Previously we rented the acreage for grazing the one-third of our herd not in the Badlands; however, beginning in the spring of 1959 this was no longer necessary due to an increase in the acreage set aside for grazing at the Station. This additional range is essential for the best type of herd improvement and bull testing program.


During 1959, we painted most of the buildings on the Livestock Farm but did not include the hog house, the bank of twelve cattle lots and sheds first constructed and the new lots completed late in 1959. In 1960 we plan to finish the painting of buildings and lots on the Livestock Farm and paint all buildings on the Agronomy Farm.

New sheds and lots were constructed for the cow herd in 1959. This included a line of sheds 200 feet by 20 feet open on the East, and three lots 60 feet deep, with two of these lots being 70 feet wide and the other 60 feet across the front. This gives us adequate space for feeding at least 100 at one time along the front. The feed trough which is 28 inches wide, 19 inches deep , with a 32 inch back and 6 inches off the ground is proving very satisfactory. The opening between the front of the trough and neck bar is 19 inches.

These lots are equipped with automatic waterers. The animals are taken out for weighing, etc., through doors in the rear of each shed, into an alley, which leads to the corral and scale.

New sheds and lots extending 200 feet North of the hospital barn. Were constructed at a cost of approximately $2,000.00.

Electric fences were put in where new fences were needed. In every case the electric fence was entirely satisfactory, and held animals better than the conventional type of fence. The most satisfactory type of electric fence is furnished current by a fencer which operates from a 110 volt current through a power line transformer. Fences of this type proved satisfactory when used to hold steers in small lots for early spring grazing. Few if any conventional fences could not be replaced by electric fence.

In 1959 we should increase the size of our holding pens at Pyramid Park since we do not have adequate room for sorting and loading out cattle. This was a 1959 project which did not get completed on schedule.

Some improvement and repair work should be done at Pyramid Park which includes;

The old barn on the Livestock Farm was razed in1959. Due to the height of the roof and lack of equipment Kolling Construction Company was hired to take the roof off which cost about $200.00. The stalls were taken out and put in the hospital barn. Our men took down the sides and ends in-tact and moved them out into the hay lot for use later on. The sides were split, the ends cut down and the material used for the back and ends of the new cattle sheds.

The old foundation and much debris was pushed into a hole on the spot by a dozer at the time the area was leveled for landscaping. The yard was landscaped and according to plan planted to trees and grass. This was one of the most significant changes we have made in the Dickinson Experiment Station up to the present.

An underground water line over 200 feet long was laid below the frost line to service the waterers installed in the new cattle lots. These waters include extra cups for watering animals held in the pasture adjacent to cattle lots.

Dry lots on concrete for summer feeding of pigs were increased from two to six in 1959. This also included finishing the shed on the first bank of two lots put in during 1958. These lots include automatic waterers, gutter, cess pool and tile drainage from the cess pool.

Each lot contain 160 sq. feet adequate for 10 fattening pigs. These lots are as satisfactory and economical for feeding out pigs as any type dry lot or pasture in use today. They were constructed at a cost of about $100.00 per lot and should require little service for many years.

New lots for growing out pigs on concrete.

The hospital barn was completed, with stalls being put in, the hospital room sealed up, and a cattle squeeze installed. The stall for diseased animals was completed, and equipment including a hoist add to aid in post-mortem examinations.

The five pasture lots for swine west of the main hog house were re-built using a 42 inch woven wire in 1959. This eliminated the pigs from getting mixed up in the lots unless by chance they happen to work under the fence. The lots across the alley on the East side of the hog barn should be rebuilt in 1960.

The check dam which diverts water into the ditches and dikes on Section 5 should be raised three to five inches in 1960, this will force more water into the irrigation project. The height the dam can be raised will depend upon the recommendations of the Soil Conservation Service. This change should include from one-to-two more acres in the irrigation project.

A new office will be built at the Livestock Farm. This will be constructed at the East end of the granary, and be abut 10 feet wide, with the length the width of the building. The portion of the building remaining will be used for storage of livestock supplies.

Plans are being considered to increase the size of the grain storage bins at the hog house and install a second hand grain elevator leg to fill the bins. Present storage is 650 bushels which if this change is made will increase the capacity to 1000 bushels.

A new four stair furnace was put in the residence at the Livestock farm at a total cost of about $500.00

No settlement has been reached with the Atlantic Refining Company for the surface damage which resulted from drilling one oil well and installing oil tanks on NW1/4 of Section 32-140-96. A final settlement must be made with regard to this in 1960.

The concrete foundation for a machine shed 40 feet by 70 feet was put in during the fall of 1959. Due to the comprehensive building program in 1959 the machine shed we planned to build was delayed except the foundation until 1960. Some of the lumber needed especially dimension material to be used was taken out of the old barn razed in 1958 and 1959.

We have an appropriation of $25000.00 for the construction of a grain elevator at the Agronomy farm. Plans were initially drawn, which resulted in bids in excess of the appropriation; hence the plans had to be re-worked to keep in line with the money available.

This will also include a scale, hoist, man lift, leg and distributor. Plans are in progress to move the seed house, we have at the present time, up to the side of the elevator and make additional cleaning, work and storage room available. The new plans for the grain elevator should be completed about the middle of February so that the bids can be let about March 1, 1960. Construction of the new elevator should begin early this spring.


The model poultry flock was maintained again in 1959. It was handled as we believe a farmer or rancher should handle his flock with regard to size, feeding and management. It may be that the flock on the averages farm or ranch should be even larger than this one with commercial poultry production on such a large scale.

The model garden was continued again in 1959, with improvements in the project for 1960.

About 100 spruce trees were planted on the Station 1959. This consisted of new plantings and replacements in the plantings already started. Replacements will be made when needed again in the spring of 1960.

A project in cooperation with the Extension Forester will be started in 1960 with the planting of three acres of evergreens. These will consist of spruce, cedar, fir and pine trees to determine hardiness of the different species in Western North Dakota.

Renovation of the shelter belt on the Livestock Farm will be continued in 1960.

The landscaping of the site where the old barn was will be carried further in 1960 by replacing dead and dying trees and making additions where needed. This will do much to improve the appearance of the Livestock Farm as a whole.

Renovation of the old shelter belt on the north side of farmstead at the Agronomy Farm which has been delayed for several years will be started in 1960. This will include removing the deciduous trees re-working the tract and adding some spruce, cedar, along with a row of shrubs as a snow trap will make this work a complete shelter belt in itself.

We believe there is no substitute for using a plastic cover on a trench or bunker type silo or where silage may be pile on the ground. To this end we cover our silos the way believe it should be done when the proper material is available which consists of:


An effort is made to acquaint farmers and ranchers with the various programs being carried on at the Dickinson Experiment Station. To this end material was release on the radio, TV, through new articles, tours, classes, and field days. When projects are completed they are closed out and released in the Experiment Station Bimonthly.


Weather report released in 1959.

On occasion the question is asked which weather report originating in Dickinson is official. With regard to our records the Meteorologist in Charge at the Weather Bureau, U.S. Dept. of Commerce has the following to say.

"The weather records made by the Dickinson Experiment Station are part of the network of the cooperative stations used over the United States by the Weather Bureau for Climatological studies and many other uses. The records from the Experiment Station are especially important because the instruments have a very good exposure, observations are made conscientiously at the same time that readings are made at the other cooperative stations and the instruments have been at the same place for many years. Evaporation readings are made at only six stations in the State with Dickinson and Mandan having the longest records.

The records from the airport are more for current weather for pilots and tourists."

Precipitation Table

General Weather Information



The Dickinson Experiment Station has been selected as the only bench mark weather station site in North Dakota. The climatological bench-mark program required very careful selection of some 50 observing stations in the United States to form a network whose continuous records serve in the extremely important business of providing firm measures of climatic characteristics and trends of change. It is obvious, of course, that the longer these records are the better. Further, their quality in respect to accuracy and unbroken continuity must be of the best. Their value decreases, however, with each change in instrument location. On all of these scores, Dickinson's record is among the best in the country.


Improving the cow herd.

Growing out and fattening beef cattle for market. The following projects are being carried on in an attempt to provide a guide for our livestock men in feeding out the cattle they raise for slaughter where such a program fits into their operation. It is an aid in developing one of the most important enterprises ever brought into being in North Dakota.





We started the winter feeding period with the following feed supply on hand at the Dickinson Experiment Station.

175 ton of hay @ $20.00 $3500.00
900 ton of corn silage @ $7.24 6516.00
1000 bushels of barley @ .80 800.00
5000 bushels of oats @ .50 2500.00







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