Purdue Extension Hosts Educational Events This Summer – June 21 and 22

Benefits of Using Native Warm-Season Grasses in a Grazing System is a 1/2 day program to show the most up-to-date methods for reliable native grass establishment and grazing management. Topics include: Why use native warm-season grasses in your grazing system, Animal performance and economics, Native warm-season grass establishment overview, How to manage native warm-season grass forages.

Grazing 102 is a program designed to help producers understand important concepts needed to make a management-intensive grazing program work for their own operation. Topics include: Understanding plant growth and development, Fencing systems, Soil fertility, Forage identification and use, Watering systems, Forage economics, Extending the grazing season, and Determining forage needs. There will also be hands-on activities, pasture walks and field tours.

There is no fee for the warm-season workshop, held on June 21st from 8:30–12:00 at the Southern Indiana Purdue Agricultural Center. Grazing 102 will follow on June 21st and 22nd; $60 registration fee will include all materials and lunches. For more information or to register, contact Jason Tower at towerj@purdue.edu or 812-678-4427.


Quote of the Month: Lignin Matters

quotes2A number of varieties of commercially available summer annual grasses (including sudangrass, sorghum-sudangrass hybrids and pearl millet) contain what is referred to as a brown midrib or “BMR” gene. In addition to making the midrib brown instead of white, plants having this gene are more digestible than non-BMR plants. This is because these plants produce less lignin, which is not digestible. The result is that animal performance is improved. Whether or not a summer annual grass is a BMR type is an important consideration for these grasses. In addition, in recent years, reduced-lignin alfalfa varieties have become commercially available. This is not a midrib phenomenon, but is consistent with the idea that reducing lignin improves plant digestibility. Forage-Livestock Quotes and Concepts, Vol. 2 is available online at foragequotebook.com.


Tariffs, Water Reshuffled the Hay Export Deck

Albeit delayed, the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) recently posted the U.S. hay export totals for 2018. For exporters, the news wasn’t particularly good, but it could have been much worse.

Hay      Total exports of alfalfa and other hay (think grass) dropped from the record 4.2 million metric tons (MT) in 2017 to 3.9 million MT in 2018, a 7.2 percent reduction. The last time the U.S. had a year-over-year drop in hay exports was 2014, which was precipitated by a West Coast dockworkers strike. ~ Mike Rankin, from Hay and Forage Grower, March 26, 2019.


Upcoming Events

May 2 – Organic Association of Kentucky Field Day, Georgetown, KY |

May 30 – Spring KY Fencing School, Russellville, KY |

May 30 – Equine Farm and Facilities Expo, Lexington, KY |

August 6 – KFGC Field Day, Ohio County, KY |

September 5 – W. KY Equine Field Day, Princeton, KY |

September 10-11 – Fall Grazing School, Versailles, KY |

September 26 – Beef Bash, Versailles, KY |

October 29-30 – Heart of America Grazing Conference, Burlington, KY – Keynote Speaker: Jim Gerrish |

October 31 – Western KY Grazing Conference, Hopkinsville, KY |

January 5-7 – AFGC Annual Conference, Greenville, NC |


Register today for the Kentucky Grazing School

The 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.PS - Princeton Grazing School D81_5913

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.  Register online at here or call Rehanon Pampell, at 270-365-7541.


Fencing School spaces still open in Burkesville and Russellville

The 2019 Kentucky Fencing School in Lexington is sold out, but spaces are still available in Burkesville (4/11) and Russellville (5/30). Presenters will offer the newest fencing methods and sound fencing construction with classroom and hands-on learning.

The first half of the day is spent in a classroom reviewing fence construction basics, Kentucky fencing laws, and electric fencing basics.  After a catered lunch, participants will venture to a local farm and install two types of fences: fixed knot high tensile woven wire fencing and electrified smooth high tensile fencing.  Sponsors include the Gallagher North American, Stay-Tuff Fencing, UK Master Grazer Program, Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund, and the Kentucky Beef Network.

You can find registration links to both schools on the event page of the UK Forage Extension Website, here, or call Rehanon Pampell at 270-365-7541.4-18Fencing


Forage Timely Tips: April

  • Graze winter annuals that were inter-seeded into thin pastures last fall.
  • Graze cover crops using temporary fencing.
  • As pasture growth begins, rotate through pastures quickly to keep up with the fast growth of spring.
  • Creep-graze calves and lambs, allowing them access to highest-quality pasture.
  • Finish re-seeding winter feeding sites where soil disturbance and sod damage occurred.
  • As pasture growth exceeds the needs of the livestock, remove some fields from the rotation and allow growth to accumulate for hay or haylage.
  • Determine need for supplemental warm season forages such as pearl millet or sudangrass.
  • Flash graze pastures newly seeded with clovers to manage competition.