Grass variety tests for grazing tolerance were established in Lexington in the fall of 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. The soil at Lexington (Maury) is a well-drained silt loam and is well-suited to tall fescue, orchardgrass, and perennial ryegrass production. All forage variety trials for Kentucky can be found here.
The Kentucky Grazing School will be held on September 27-28, 2017 at the Woodford County Extension office and the Oran C. Little Research Center in Versailles, KY. This two day program includes hands-on exercises, such as building temporary paddocks and watering systems, and assessing pasture production. Classroom discussions will cover topics including forages, animal management, and grazing systems. Enrollment is limited, so apply early. Past participants range from new to experienced grazers and all have gained new information and skills to implement on their operations. Pre-register for the grazing school as enrollment is limited to the first 45. The $50.00 registration fee includes all materials, grazing manuals, breaks, and lunch both days. Partially funded through the Governor’s Office of Agriculture Policy. For more information, contact Zach Workman, 859-257-7512, Zewo222@uky.edu or visit the UK Forage Website.
Tim Taylor will host the 2017 Kentucky Forage and Grassland Council Annual Field Day Mon, August 7th on his farm in Daviess County. Registration begins at 4:45 with Farm tour and Educational sessions at 5:30 and a meal at 7:30. Topics include Grazing Corn, Annual Forage Systems, Pasture Re-Establishment and Maximizing Beef Profit Per Acre. Farm address is 8706 Hwy 81, Owensboro, KY To register, call 270-685-8480.
The 71st Southern Pasture and Forage Crop Improvement Conference (SPFCIC) was held June 5 to 7 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Hosted by the University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture, this program featured presentations and discussion on drought, climate resilient forage systems as well as soil health. Access the proceedings online here.
The meeting featured a poster sharing session from research and extension specialists in the southern region. UK and UT presented a poster summarizing preliminary results of an Organic Dairy Forage Production study currently underway in both states.
Faculty, students and staff of UT Knoxville arranged an educational tour of establishment, management, and benefits of native warm season grasses. Participants were able to tour a commercial bioprocessing facility as well as research farms that were utilizing and studying native grasses.
The 50 participants included representatives from southern region universities, county extension and industry. The 2018 conference will be in early summer in Fayetteville, Arkansas. ~ Dr. Jimmy Henning
A field trip to the University of Kentucky’s Spindletop research farm gave Millcreek Elementary School students the opportunity to get out of the city and learn about the pastures for which Kentucky is so famous.
“Most of these kids are from the city or the suburbs, and only a few of them have any kind of farm background,” said Ray Smith, UK extension forage specialist. “We wanted to show them where their food comes from, how horses are raised and the kinds of things horses eat, so they have an understanding of Kentucky agriculture.”
Students rotated through several educational stations on the farm. They walked through a typical horse pasture and learned to identify and collect different grasses and weeds. The students helped the UK forages group by collecting seeds from a field containing Woodford Big Flower Vetch, a variety that is nearly extinct, although small populations continue to grow at Spindletop.
Krista Lea, UK research analyst, said one of the goals of the day was to interest kids in agriculture and science. “Many of them said this was the first time they had ever been out on a farm. It’s really cool to get them out here and to see what UK offers,” she said. “Maybe they’ll want to come to school here one day, but even if they don’t, they’ll just have a better appreciation of agriculture.” ~ Katie Pratt
If you are finding your feed supplies may be short later this summer or next winter then an option is a late planting BMR sorghum or Sorghum-Sudangrass. Both forages can be cut for silage or the sorghum-sudangrass can be grazed. The cost is a fraction of corn, and drilled, it will get out of the ground quickly to capture sunlight for maximum yield. In NY a planting July 8, 2016, harvested Oct 7 at maturity (one cut system), produced an average of 18 tons/A on a 35% DM basis for both forages.
Harvest management is critical for fermentation to reduce potential for clostridia and butyric formation. Choosing a variety with the dry stalk gene, will help since there is less moisture in the stem. With enough growth you can direct chop (if not, then mow, windrow and chop). For round bale silage (baleage) we suggest BMR Sudangrass with its higher quality and smaller stems for wrapped bales. Additionally you can use a processing knife on the baler to reduce stalk size to a manageable level. Use a homolactic inoculant for wet forages.
Another warm season crop that is getting more attention is BMR pearl millet. It has higher leaf to stem ratio than Sorghum-Sudan which gives it very high feed quality. Pearl millet does not have prussic acid management issues. Pearl millet has thinner stems that may be easier to round bale for wrapping. Pearl millet is wet though so direct chopping is doubtful. ~ Excerpted from Tom Kilcer’s July 2017 Newsletter, http://www.advancedagsys.com. For information on warm season annual grass yields go to the UK Forage Website under Variety Trials.
While summer officially started late June, now is the best time to begin planning for fall seeding. Failure to do so often results in missing seeding windows or inability to secure the needed supplies such as seed, herbicides and equipment. Below are a few quick reminders to improving seeding success.
- Spray herbicides now. Most herbicides require six weeks or more before seeding perennial grasses, so if you are planning to seed in September, herbicides should be applied soon. Be sure to read and follow all label instructions.
- Research and purchase seed now. New and productive varieties may not be available in high quantities, so purchase seed now to prepare for seeding late August – mid-September
- Perform routine maintenance and any repairs needed on seeding equipment. Seed placement is crucial to seeding success.
- Ensure soil fertility. If you haven’t soil tested in the last 3 years for pastures or last year for hay fields, do so now and apply any needed lime, P or K as recommended. For all cool-season pastures, fall nitrogen is recommended to boost root reserves and increase winter survival.
For more information on fall establishment, contact your local county extension agent or check out our list of publications.