October 3, 2008

Livestock producers have been some of the hardest hit by skyrocketing fuel, input and feed prices. To help producers get through this economic crunch, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture specialists and industry professionals will offer cost-saving information on pasture management during the ninth Kentucky Grazing Conference.

The conference is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23 at the Fayette County Cooperative Extension Service in Lexington.

"With the high costs of fertilizers and fuel inputs, cost savings from grazing is more important now that ever," said Ray Smith, UK extension forage specialist. "We want to give practical advice that producers can directly use to improve the management of their livestock operations. It's not just theories but rather practical applications."

As fertilizer prices have risen, more producers are becoming interested in legumes, which are also sources of nitrogen. Garry Lacefield, UK extension forage specialist, will discuss how producers can save on nitrogen costs by using legumes and how producers can enhance legume growth in their pastures.

            Feed supplements have also risen in popularity, but the costs of these supplements have sharply risen. Roy Burris, UK extension beef specialist, will talk about how grazing can help producers cut supplemental feeding costs and the nutritional benefits of both.

Glen Aiken, an animal scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, will discuss his new research on practical grazing management and feeding strategies that can lessen fescue toxicosis, a fungus found in tall fescue that affects livestock by decreasing their feed intake, thus lowering the animal's weight gain.

Another featured event is the forage spokesman contest. Producers across the state will share with conference participants how they are utilizing their resources to cut costs and effectively manage their pastures and farms. The winner of the contest will represent the state at the 2009 American Forage and Grasslands Council Annual Conference in Grand Rapids, Mich.

            Conference participants will also be able to view exhibits from more than 20 forage related companies and learn about their new products and developments. In a silent auction, producers can bid on bags of seed, herbicides and other items donated by various companies with the proceeds benefiting the Kentucky Forage and Grassland Council.

            Certified Crop Advisors can receive continuing education credits by attending the conference.

Registration is $15, $5 for students and includes a meal and refreshments. The registration fee will be collected the day of the conference. The Fayette County Cooperative Extension office is located at 1140 Red Mile Place, which is just off Red Mile Road.

For a full schedule of events, visit the UK forage extension Web site at http://www.uky.edu/Ag/Forage/9th KGC Program columns.pdf.

News Topics: