The UKY Forage Team wishes to dedicate the 2023 Kentucky Grazing Schools to Dr. Donna Amaral-Phillips, who has recently retired after a long and award-winning program in UKY dairy extension.

Donna is a co-founder of the Kentucky Grazing Schools, and has been an integral part of every session since 1996. Her talk on ‘Meeting Nutritional Needs on Pasture’ has been a staple of the program since its inception. She has good-naturedly endured the kidding of faculty like Jimmy Henning over her demonstration about how goats eat compared to cattle.

Throughout her career, Donna’s goal has been to educate dairy farmers, industry personnel, veterinarians and Cooperative Extension agents on the fundamentals of dairy nutrition and management. Her extension education program centered on applying sound, science-based nutrition recommendations for replacements and lactating dairy cows. She often uses hands-on demonstrations and facilitates farmer-led discussion groups. She was the project leader for DAIReXNET, a national extension-driven dairy web resource, which provided dairy-related audiences with science-based, peer-reviewed materials and educational opportunities.

Her program has been recognized in many ways, including the Southern ADSA Honor Award and the UK Whitaker Award for Excellence in Extension. In 2020 she was awarded the prestigious DeLaval Dairy Extension Award by the American Dairy Science Association to recognize outstanding achievements in dairy extension.

The UKY Forage Team wants to thank Donna for her faithful and innovative leadership to the Kentucky Grazing School by dedicating this year’s grazing schools to her. ~ Jimmy Henning

Forage Timely Tips: May

  • Start hay harvests for quality forage. Consider making baleage to facilitate timely cutting.
  • Seed warm season grasses for supplemental forage once soil temperature is at 60 F.
  • Clip, graze, or make hay to prevent seedhead formation.
  • Rotate pastures as based in height rather than time.
  • Consider temporary electric fencing to subdivide larger pastures and exclude areas for mechanical harvesting.
  • Scout pastures for summer annual weeds and control when small.

Global grassland experts converge in Kentucky for international meeting 

The International Grassland Congress is set to convene in the United States after a hiatus of more than four decades. The congress, held in Kentucky for the second time, brings together scientists, farmers, ranchers, extension leaders and industry experts from around the globe to discuss the crucial role of grasslands in promoting sustainability and health. This year’s theme, “Grassland for Soil, Animal, and Human Health,” underscores the crucial role of grasslands in fostering health and sustainability.   

More than 600 attendees from over 60 countries will attend the congress in Covington May 14-19. Nancy Cox, UK vice president for land-grant engagement and UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment dean will speak at the opening session.  “We are excited to welcome the International Grassland Congress back to Kentucky and the United States,” she said. “The honor of our state being chosen to host this event demonstrates that our work to improve forages is being recognized worldwide.” 

The first Congress on Grasslands was held in Leipzig, Germany in 1927, bringing together 16 scientists from seven European countries. Their aim was to discuss the significance of grasslands to food security. 

“The congress meets every three to four years and offers a unique opportunity for attendees to collaborate,” said Ray Smith, UK Plant and Soil Sciences professor and IGC organizing committee chairman. “Attendees can listen and talk to some of the leading minds in the field, sharing ideas and discussing the latest research and best practices. Delegates frequently state that the IGC congresses they attended were the high point of their careers because they interacted with people around the world who shared a passion for grasslands and the animals they support.” 

This year’s program contains presentations on production, storage and forage utilization, focusing on applied and academic perspectives. The conference will also cover grassland policies, social issues, ecosystem services and offer a trade show marketplace.  

“The congress has been responsible for some significant progress in grassland research,” Smith said. “One example relates to efforts to overcome tall fescue toxicity from the widely planted endophyte-infected Kentucky 31 variety.” 

Smith said New Zealand researcher Gary Latch met University of Georgia researcher Joe Bouton at the 1993 Grassland Congress. Bouton discovered Latch’s safe endophytes and they developed a collaboration to insert these new endophytes into Bouton’s southeast United States-adapted tall fescue varieties.  

“This collaboration led to the entire novel endophyte tall fescue industry, providing safe tall fescue for cattle and horse producers across the country,” Smith added.  

During the congress, participants may explore grassland operations in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, gaining firsthand knowledge of the challenges and opportunities the region’s farmers and ranchers face. The IGC will also offer optional pre-congress tours in the Southern Plains and the Southeastern United States.  

“The congress allows researchers to share their ideas and research findings,” Smith said. “Over the years, hundreds of collaborations have been developed among researchers in different countries who previously did not have a personal relationship. It’s been great progressing the industry forward.” 

For more information or to register, visit With limited space, organizers encourage early registration.  

~ Jordan Strickler, 

Western KY Summer Forage Tour: “Nurtured Lands Farm…A Regenerative Journey”

Please join us May 25th from 3:00—7:00 pm at the Nurtured Lands Farms in Princeton KY. Cost is $10 per person to cover dinner. Topics include integrating multiple livestock species, building soil fertility through bale grazing, direct to consumer marketing and more! Register online at or contact Kate Adams at Kate and Justin Adams purchased their Princeton Kentucky farm in 2016. It had been neglected for many years leading to low soil fertility and poor soil health. While neither Kate nor Justin grew up on a farm, they both enjoy hard work and have a passion for regenerative agriculture. Justin always had an interest in livestock and has an undergraduate degree from Murray State University in Animal Health Technology and a Master of Agriculture in Integrated Resource Management from Colorado State University. The first year on the farm they started with a contract grazing partnership with Dogwood Farm. Toby and Debby Dulworth quickly moved from just partners to partners and mentors. Like most farmers starting out they started on a budget. Dogwood paid Kate and Justin with a share of the calves, and this is how they started their herd. In 2020, they added layer chickens in a mobile coop to follow the cattle and help reduce the fly population on the farm. This was also the year they ended the cow/calf production and move to grass finishing steers. In 2021, pastured chickens were added, and the farm started direct to consumer marketing both chicken and beef cuts. A partnership with Magney Legacy Ridge farm started in 2021 for Western Kentucky consumers to order online and have a weekly delivery to their home. In 2022, forest finished hogs we added to the farm. This farm tour will be a walking tour of the 50-acre farm (35 in pasture). Justin and Kate will explain how they used strategic forages, animals, and grazing techniques to bring life back into the soil. They have experimented with many ways of diversifying the forages on the farm and have seen the biggest impacts through frost seeding of clovers and lespedeza. Since Nurtured Lands Farm does not use synthetic fertilizers, having the clovers in the pastures is a main source of nitrogen. The tour will be a friendly discussion of shared practices. More info here

Pub of the Month: Managing Legume-Induced Bloat in Cattle (ID-186)

Incorporating legumes into pastures to reduce the impact of fescue toxicosis, provide nitrogen for forages, and improve pasture quality leading to increased animal performance is still sound management even though legume bloat is a risk to livestock. Individual animal performance is greater on grass/legume pastures compared to performance on similar monoculture grass stands. If one considers the number of cattle grazing
pastures containing legumes worldwide, the fear of bloat leading to low incorporation of legumes into grazed swards will give rise to greater economic losses compared to establishing a mixed sward of grasses and legumes. Find this publication on the UK Forage Extension website under the livestock disorders tab.


In April 2023, we ran a story, Summer Stockpiled Forage Provided the Answer, without properly attributing that to writer Mike Rankin for Hay and Forage Grower.

A Native Crane Fly Species may Be a Potential Pest in Alfalfa Fields of Kentucky

Adult crane flies (Diptera: Tipulidae) are often misidentified as giant mosquitoes, they are actually different in size (0.8 to > 1 in. of body length) and belong to a different family. The larvae of crane flies are known as “leatherjackets” and in this case the larvae are found around 1-2 inches depth in the soil (Figure 1B), displaying tan to dark brownish colors, with a retractile head capsule and spiracles.

Most native crane fly species do not represent a threat to agriculture, but they may become pests when certain conditions are met. For instance, some invasive species are considered pests in golf courses and in some pastures. Here is the first report of a native species, Tipula paterifera that was found feeding on roots and foliage of alfalfa in Kentucky (Figure 2). The damage to alfalfa plants can be severe when high numbers of larvae are present in the soil (Figures 2 and 3). This species was previously found feeding on herbaceous plants in grasslands.

The larva of T. paterifera is mostly found within 5-in. depth in the soil and some of them are collected close to the main root of alfalfa plants (Figure 4A). Pupae are found close or on the ground surface (Figure 4B). Between 1 to 10 crane fly larvae/ft2 were found in soil samples in 2022. The larva’s lengths ranged from 0.5 to 0.9 inches. Under laboratory conditions adult females lay on average 397±121 (SEM) eggs, ranging from 41 to 1,361 eggs within 72 h. Eggs are laid on small clusters containing up to 18 eggs. Under dry conditions, larvae remained in hardened soil clumps (Figure 4C). These individuals barely moved unless poked or if the soil clump was intentionally opened. In contrast, larvae in soaked conditions were able to breathe using their annal breathing tubes or spiracles (Figure 4D).

Tipula paterifera larva (as many crane fly species) is physiologically adapted to survive both dry and moist conditions during larval stages. It caused economic damage to alfalfa only when high larvae populations appear (i.e., 2019 and 2021). However, there is no known economic threshold thus far. The outbreaks of T. paterifera in alfalfa fields could be attributed to certain climatic and ecological conditions not yet understood. The low populations of this species detected in 2022 could be explained in part by the extreme drought conditions across the north central U.S. ~ Armando Falcon-Brindis, Raul T. Villanueva and Julian Dupuis

Frothy Bloat Spikes with Spring Cereal Grazing

Concerns and documented cases of wheat pasture bloat are starting to swell as fields of wheat and small grains green up in the Southern Plains. This disease, also known as frothy bloat, causes excessive bloating in cattle that can quickly lead to animal death. In a webinar from Oklahoma State University Extension, Paul Beck explained that frothy bloat results from a buildup of ruminal gasses that are produced faster than they are expelled. The beef cattle nutrition specialist noted the disease is most common in early spring when wheat and small grains are growing rapidly. This forage tends to be high in protein yet low in fiber.

Without enough fiber to regulate rumen function, the soluble protein creates a slime layer in animals’ stomachs. “The gasses that are released naturally from rumen fermentation percolate through the slime layer and can block the esophageal orifice, trapping the gas,” Beck said.Cattle can die within 15 to 20 minutes after the initial signs of frothy bloat. The swelling of the rumen can impede on animals’ pulmonary systems, preventing them from breathing and ultimately causing suffocation. Some additional factors that influence the incidence and severity of frothy bloat are soil fertility and weather patterns. For example, forage growing on more fertile soil may be higher in protein, which heightens the risk of the disease.

Warmer temperatures and greater rainfall in the spring accelerate forage growth and exacerbate frothy bloat. Conversely, a late season frost might rupture plant cell walls and intensify the issue as well.

In an article from Oklahoma State University Extension published last month, Beck notes death losses from frothy bloat can be as high as 15% to 20% of a cow herd. Even so, this economic loss may be less threatening than not taking advantage of the available forage at all. “Cattle grazing small grain pasture can gain in excess of 2.5 to 3 pounds per day,” Beck writes “Avoiding these pastures based on a fear of bloat is unreasonable, especially when there are affordable and user-friendly methods for control.” Adding low- to moderate-quality hay to animal diets can improve fiber intake and slow the passage rate of grazed forage. Beck stated this may benefit rumen retention time and digestion of wheat and small grains; however, it is not a sure-fire defense against frothy bloat on its own.

Feeding cattle monensin is another approach. Research shows this supplement can reduce the incidence of frothy bloat by about 20%, as well as boost animals’ average daily gain. While monensin cannot cure frothy bloat, it can lessen the severity of the condition. “If we are decreasing the severity, it allows us time to see those animals before bloat death occurs and gives us time to provide alternative cures,” Beck said in the webinar. One such alternative is poloxalene, a surfactant that disrupts the slime layer in the rumen and releases trapped gas. Beck suggested providing poloxalene to cattle is a more surefire strategy to prevent frothy bloat if animals consume it daily. It can be found in the form of feed additives, top dresses, mineral supplements, feed blocks, and liquid feed.

Beck recommended using a product that is 6.6% poloxalene into animal diets at a rate of 0.8 ounces per 100 pounds of body weight per day. This equates to about 4 ounces of the product per 500-pound animal per day, or 8 ounces of the product per 1,000-pound animal per day. ~ Amber Friedrichsen, March 2023, Hay and Forage Grower ( Read the full article here.

Farmer Scholarships to attend the International Grassland Congress

We want to remind you that the International Grassland Congress will be held in Covington Kentucky, May 14-19, 2023. This is the first time this international conference will be hosted in the US since 1981. Funding is available to help cover your expenses to attend this conference. The registration cost is $600 for the entire time or $200 for one day. The National Cattleman’s Beef Association is offering scholarships to producers through the Rancher Resiliency Grant program. You can apply and should be approved to receive up to $1,622 to cover/reimburse your expenses related to attending the event. Here is the link with details to the grant information: https://

Here is the link to the International Grassland Congress We encourage you to consider attending this international conference! In addition, there are still spots available on the 8 day Central Grasslands Pre-Congress tour through Texas and Oklahoma.