The Late Ms. Ghanimat Azhdari

Picture1The Secretariat of the National Organizing Committee for the Joint International Grassland/Rangeland Congress, convey deepest condolences on the death of one of the Keynote Speakers, Ms. Ghanimat Azhdari, in the recent plane crash near Tehran, Iran.

Ms. Ghanimat worked for Centre for Sustainable Development and Environment (Cenesta). She was an inspiring, intelligent young scientist who was very passionate about indigenous peoples issues and the environment.  Ms. Ghanimat Azhdari had agreed to give a Keynote presentation on ‘Pastoralism, Social, Gender and Policy Issues’ during the up-coming October 2020 Congress. Read more about the life and work of Ms. Azhdari here.


Quote of the Month: “Where there is No Vision, There is no Hope” ~ George Washington Carver

Genuine vision of a better future is essential in creating a better life. There are costs involved, and one must be willing to bear those costs. Too many people give up, submitting to a life of drudgery. This includes some forage-livestock producers, who muddle along, with no vision to see how new inputs and better management could result in more efficient operation and greater profitability. Lack of vision prevents moving to higher levels of forage-livestock productivity. Order your copy of Forage-Livestock Quote and Concepts, vol. 2, here.



USDA Hay Markets – January 21, 2020

Below are examples of grass prices being paid FOB barn/stack (except for those noted as delivered, which is indicated by a “d” in the table below) for selected states at the end of the day on Friday, January 17. Large ranges for a particular grade and state are often indicative of location and/or bale size. Also check the USDA Hay Market Prices for additional locations and more detailed information.


Publication of the Month: Renovating Hay and Pastures Fields (AGR-26)

A simple but effective method to renovate pastures is to broadcast the legume seed (clover and annual lespedeza) on the soil surface in late winter (ideally February) or when there are 4 to 6 weeks of potential frost at night. As the soil freezes and thaws, the seeds become covered. This method does not work as well with alfalfa or grasses. As described above, make sure the stand is grazed or cut closely so that nearly all plant residue is removed and the legume seed hits the soil surface. To read this and other publications, visit the UK Forage Extension Publication page.


AFGC Annual Conference Summary

Kentucky had a large delegation at the American Forage and Grassland Council’s annual conference. This years’ event was held January 5-8 in Greenville, SC. Jessamine county Ag. Extension agent Steve Musen (pictured) presented a poster on  “Effectively Reaching the Equine Community”. Grad student Kelly Mercier presented her thesis work on “The Opportunities and Challenges of Grazing Summer Annual Forage Mixtures”. Will Bowling representing KFGC in the Forage Spokesperson competition and won second prize. UK also had a team of undergraduates who competed in the National Forage Bowl Competition. Next year’s conference will be held January 3-6, 2021 in Savannah, GA.

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Kentucky Alfalfa and Stored Forages Conference in Elizabethtown, Feb. 20, 2020

The new Hardin county Extension Office will be hosting the 39th Kentucky Alfalfa and Stored Forage Conference.  Topics include:

  • Managing Alfalfa Nutrient Uptake
  • Don’t Let Insects Eat Your Alfalfa Profit
  • Fertilizing Profitable High Yield Alfalfa
  • Getting the Upper Hand on Diseases of Alfalfa and Grasses
  • Updates on an Online Alfalfa Management Tool
  • What’s New in Alfalfa Weed Control
  • Advances in Hay Mechanization
  • Making a Profit with a cash hay Alfalfa Operation

Early registration is just $30. Find the full agenda or register here. PS - alfalfaDS7_0290


Methods to Reduce Hay Alkaloid Levels

Fescue toxicosis is caused by ergot alkaloids produced by the naturally occurring fungal endophyte. Many scientists think that ergovaline is the primary alkaloid causing the issues, but there may be others involved. Research has shown that KY-31 infected tall fescue contains alkaloids all year, but the level is particularly high in the spring when seedheads are produced.

The question has come up recently about the toxicity of KY-31 infected tall fescue hay. Research from the University of Missouri indicates that ergovaline and total ergot alkaloid levels decline significantly when tall fescue is cut, dried, and baled for hay. In their study, alkaloid levels dropped between approximately 30 to 60 percent when tall fecue was made for hay. It is important to realize that alkaloids were still present in the hay, sometimes to levels that produce symptoms of fescue toxicosis. There were some situations where levels were reduced enough that any fescue toxicosis sysptoms should be minimal. Below are methods to reduce alkaloid levels in hay:

1) Raise the cutting height to 3 inches

2) Delay feeding for at least one month after harvest

3) Seed clovers in tall fescue hayfields

4) Cut before seedheads are present

~ Excerpt from November Hay and Forage Grower, by Gary Bates.

To learn more about managing toxic tall fescue in pastures and hayfields or to replace with new novel tall fescues, consider attending the Novel Tall Fescue Renovation Workshop in Lexington on March 19th. Early registration is only $65. Find more info or reserve your spot here or contact Krista Lea at