UK to host Novel Tall Fescue Renovation Workshop

Kentucky 31 tall fescue is a double-edged sword for many forage and livestock producers because of its toxin-producing endophyte. University of Kentucky forage extension specialists are teaming up with the Alliance for Grassland Renewal to host a workshop to teach producers how to renovate their tall fescue pastures with a novel endophyte variety.

The Novel Tall Fescue Renovation Workshop will take place March 20 at Central Presbyterian Church in Princeton.IMG_7456

Producers have widely used tall fescue in pastures for decades, because it survives well under many conditions including drought, cold, overgrazing, insects and diseases. However, the most common variety, KY-31, also contains toxins that can severely affect cattle and horse performance.

“Toxic tall fescue reduces livestock weight gains and lowers their reproductive performance,” said Chris Teutsch, extension forage specialist in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

By replacing it with a novel endophyte variety, producers can keep the beneficial aspects of the grass while reducing its negative impacts.

“There are a growing number of novel or friendly endophyte tall fescue varieties on the market, including UK’s own variety Lacefield MaxQ II,” said Ray Smith, UK extension forage specialist. “This workshop will help producers learn how they can begin to incorporate these varieties into their operation.”

During the workshop, participants will hear from Kentucky producers, UK specialists, forage experts from across the U.S. and industry representatives. In the afternoon, they will tour research plots at the UK Research and Education Center Farm in Princeton.

The cost to attend is $60 per person before March 8. After that date, it is $75 per person. Click here for more information or to register.


Forage Timely Tips: March

  • Continue pasture renovation by no-tilling seeding legumes.
  • Place small seed at 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep and check depth several times during planting; slow down for more precise seeding.
  • Continue feeding hay until adequate forage exists in the pasture for grazing.
  • Spring seeding of grasses should be done in early to mid-March (but fall is preferred)
  • Begin smoothing and re-seeding hay feeding and heavy traffic areas.
  • Graze pastures overseeded with clover to reduce competition from existing grasses. (Pull off before grazing new clover plants.)
  • Provide free choice high-magnesium mineral to prevent grass tetany on lush spring growth.

Round Bale Binding Materials Evaluated

Haymakers now have several options to bind round bales. The binding option chosen impacts the time it takes to bale a hayfield and the preservation of forage quality if the bales are stored outdoors.

University of Minnesota researchers recently reported on the first-year results of a study comparing twine wrap to net wrap or B-Wrap. They shared their results at the American Forage and Grassland Council’s Annual Conference, which was held last week in St. Louis, Mo.

The researchers recorded wrapping time in the field for each wrap type, determined bale weights, and monitored forage quality in bales over a 12-month period. Hay cores to a depth of 18 inches were taken from the sides of bales at harvest and then every three months thereafter until the one-year storage time had been reached. The bales were stored outdoors on wooden pallets.

Two different alfalfa varieties were harvested and evaluated, one of which contained the HarvXtra, reduced-lignin trait. A total of 24, 4- by 5-foot bales were harvested in June 2017 (12 of each variety, four of each wrap type within a variety).

Wrapping time. In the context of this study, net wrap took the least amount of binding time with an average of 18 seconds per bale. The B-Wrap was the next quickest at 28 seconds. Twine easily had the longest wrapping time with an average of 56 seconds per bale.

Variety. During the initial year, no significant forage quality differences were measured between the two tested varieties for crude protein (CP), acid detergent fiber (ADF), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and nonstructural carbohydrates (NSC). Therefore, results were averaged across the two varieties.

Dry matter. Overall, dry matter losses were minimal compared to those measured in previous studies. Twine-tied bales averaged a 5.3 percent dry matter loss, followed by net wrap with a 4.9 percent dry matter loss. The B-Wrap bales exhibited 0 percent reduction in dry matter.

The minimal amount of dry matter lost in the study bales can be partly attributed to storing the bales on pallets, which helped preserve the integrity of the bottom of the bale where high losses occur if the bales are placed directly on the soil surface.

Forage quality. No significant differences between the three wrap types were measured for CP, ADF, or NDF following 12 months of storage time. However, the twine-wrapped bales had significantly lower NSC than either the net wrap or B-Wrap bales. Read the full article here. ~ Hay and Forage Grower, Jan. 2019


The Impact of Tedding on the Economic Production of Alfalfa Silage

bale wrapTwo treatments, tedded and untedded, were applied to an alfalfa field to determine their impact on the quality of the resulting forage. The tedded treatment area was tedded after the cutting of the field, and the untedded treatment was left in its original swath. The tedded treatment area dried at a greater rate than the untedded treatment area in all cuttings and replications. Crude protein, water-soluble carbohydrates, ash content, and neutral detergent fiber were also observed to be different, with the tedded treatment having lower crude protein, higher water-soluble carbohydrates, lower ash, and higher neutral detergent fiber than the untedded treatment. A difference was not observed between the treatments for total digestible nutrients. ~ Lindsey Murry and Matthew Digman, NAFA checkoff/AFRP/APRI Research Summaries. Read the full NAFA newsletter here.


Proceedings – 38th KY Alfalfa and Stored Forages Conference: Barn Considerations for Cash Hay Operations

A well designed and built a barn can be invaluable for cash hay operation. Barns provide opportunities to reduce losses in dry matter and help maintain quality throughout the winter.  There are numerous styles of barns that hay producers can purchase or build themselves. Wood frame structures, often with metal roofs and metal sides, are fairly common. You can also build barns with a steel structure with or without metal siding on the walls. Hoop barns are another common hay storage structure – particularly common with round bale storage.  All, however, provide valuable storage for hay. There are four areas of consideration for ensuring the barn style chosen will be effective on a specific hay operation:  site selection, barn sizing, construction approaches, and ventilation. ~ Dr. Morgan Hayes, full proceedings for the conference are here.


Publication of the Month: Planning Fencing Systems for Intensive Grazing Management

Intensive grazing may result in better utilization of Kentucky’s forage resources. Improved forage management through controlled grazing allows  producers to increase returns to the farm. To effectively develop a controlled grazing system, the producer must use fencing, which subdivides the pasture into sub-fields or paddocks. The animals may then be rotated among the paddocks to optimize forage and beef production from the system. When you develop the layout for a fencing system, consider the following points:

  • Fixed resources on the farm, such as acreage, soil type, slope, rockiness;
  • Semi-fixed resources, such as water supply, existing fences, existing grass base;
  • Changeable resources, including forage type, temporary fences, cattle numbers;
  • Other factors, including seasonal usage patterns, economics and land use for other enterprises.

New advances in fencing technology provide the needed “tools” for an intensive grazing system. High tensile fence, brought to this country from New Zealand, offers an alternative to traditional woven and barbed wire for fence construction. Also, temporary electric fencing continues to be improved. Once you have evaluated the resources and tools available, you can develop your fencing plan. Download the full publication here.

Kentucky Spring Grazing School

PS - Princeton Grazing School D81_5913The 2019 Spring Grazing School will be April 23-24 in Princeton, KY.  Informational sessions will be held at the Central Presbyterian Church, with hands-on activities taking place at the University of Kentucky Research & Education Center.  Hosted by the Master Grazer program, the school begins at 7:30am and ends at 5:30pm CST.  Presenters will offer valuable grazing methods for new and experienced graziers with the goal to extend the grazing season and minimize stored feed.  Every day we can meet the animal’s nutritional needs from a grazed pasture is money saved!

On the first day, participants will work in groups to install a rotational grazing system then allocate cattle to the paddocks constructed by each group.  On the second day, participants will observe the grazed paddocks and hear reports from each group.  Representatives from UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and Gallagher North America will present a variety of topics like benefits of rotational grazing, temporary fencing, portable/seasonal water systems, economics of grazing, and rejuvenating run-down pastures as well as local producers discussing what works on their farms.  Sponsors include the Kentucky Forage & Grassland Council, UK Master Grazer Program, Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund, and the Kentucky Beef Network.

Preregistration is necessary, and enrollment is limited to the first 45 participants.  Registration is only $50 and includes all materials, grazing manual, breaks and lunch for both days.  Click here for more information or to register. Mail printed registration forms to Rehanon Pampell, 1205 Hopkinsville Street, Princeton, KY 42445 or call 270-365-7541.