Farmers Learn About High Quality Forage

Edward Twidwell, Branch, Bill, Chaney, John A., Morrison, David  |  11/30/2006 12:58:32 AM

News Release Distributed 12/12/2003

ALEXANDRIA – Producers from across the state gathered here last week to learn about more efficient ways to produce, use and store quality forage on their farms.

They were participants in the Louisiana Forage and Grassland Council meeting Dec. 12 on the LSU-Alexandria campus.

"The Louisiana Forage and Grassland Council provides an educational opportunity for forage producers to learn the latest recommended practices they can use to manage their land and grow high quality forage in an environmentally friendly way," said LSU AgCenter forage specialist Dr. Ed Twidwell.

Participants exchanged ideas with other producers, viewed display booths from industry representatives, recognized outstanding accomplishments of the state's forage producers and took part in the educational meetings on forage production.

"As cattle producers, we must first become superior forage producers, and then we can be superior cattle producers," said Cheramie Viator, hay and cattle marketing manager at Camp Cooley Ranch in Franklin, Texas. She is responsible for marketing more than 250,000 bales of hay and over 500 bulls per year for the ranch.

"We strive to satisfy the customer by supplying high quality hay with a money-back guarantee," Viator said.

As part of their effort to satisfy customers, Viator said they irrigate about 1,000 of the 3,000 acres of coastal bermudagrass on the ranch, implement an aggressive weed control program, fertilize hay fields according to recommendations from soil tests and cut hay on a 28-day schedule.

"The irrigation program pays for itself – especially during a drought," Viator said, adding, "We have high-quality hay to sell when our competitors are short."

The irrigation of hay fields in Louisiana is limited to a few producers who make high-quality hay for specialty markets and have an abundance of water close to their hay fields.

"One of the most efficient irrigation systems is where an industry cooperates with employees to irrigate pasture land with waste water," said LSU AgCenter water resource specialist Dr. Bill Branch. "Appling waste water to pasture land reduces the hassle of getting permits, prevents costly water treatment and efficiently uses waste water to produce a crop."

Forage and cattle producers are encouraged to learn more about the production of grasses and cattle in the state by participating in the LSU AgCenter’s Master Cattle Producer Program.

"The Master Cattle Producer Program will be offered for the first time starting at the annual meeting of the Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association in Lafayette Jan. 23, 2004," said Dr. David Morrison, assistant vice chancellor of the LSU AgCenter.

The unique program allows producers an opportunity to attend 10 three-hour educational sessions on topics related to the production of cattle and forage, Morrison explained.

The Forage and Grassland meeting also provides an opportunity to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of its members and those who participate in the annual hay show.

The winners in hay quality contest were:

–Grand Champion Hay Quality Award went to Carroll Charpentier from Terrebonne Parish.

–First place in Ryegrass Hay Division, Charpentier.

–First place in the Legume Division, Clay Pierce, Lafourche Parish.

–First place in Bermudagrass Hay Division, C.J. Foster, Vermilion Parish.

–First place in the Mixed Hay Division, Charpentier.

The hay samples were evaluated by judges who used the laboratory analysis and visual inspection to determine the placings.

Other topics that discussed at the conference included soil fertility, warm-season grass productivity, weed control and the relationship of forage quality and animal nutrition.

For more information on the production of forages, cattle or other agricultural topics – as well as a broad range of other issues – contact your parish LSU AgCenter Extension office or visit www.lsuagcenter.com.

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Contacts:
Ed Twidwell at (225) 578-4070 or etwidwell@agcenter.lsu.edu
Bill Branch at (225) 578-6919 or bbranch@agcenter.lsu.edu
David Morrison at (225) 578-8236 or dmorrison@agcenter.lsu.edu
Writer:
John Chaney at (318) 473-6605 or jchaney@agctr,lsu.edu

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