Producers Gather To Learn About Forage Production

Edward Twidwell, Rowntree, Jason E., Reed, Donald P., Chaney, John A.  |  4/19/2005 10:28:59 PM

News Release Distributed 12/22/04

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

Nearly 100 people participated in the Louisiana Forage and Grassland Council meeting Dec. 10 on the LSU-Alexandria campus.

"The Louisiana Forage and Grassland Council provides an educational opportunity for landowners to learn the latest recommended practices that can help increase the profitability on the land," said LSU AgCenter forage specialist Dr. Ed Twidwell, who helped to organize the meeting.

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 to learn about land management and forage production.

"Cattle producers should manage their farms for profitability instead of production," said Dr. Richard Watson, Mississippi State University forage specialist, during the meeting. "They should let the cattle and forage work for them to make a profit."

It is easier to make a profit by dividing the pastures into smaller areas and allowing cattle to strip graze the forage, he said, adding that as cattle consume more forage by grazing, less hay is needed to meet their needs.

In addition, some producers can reduce hay loss up to 60 percent by covering hay that has been harvested to protect it from the weather, experts said.

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 classes are scheduled at a number of locations across the state. For more information on the classes, contact a local LSU AgCenter office or visit the Web site at www.lsuagcenter.com and click on crops and livestock on the left side of the page.

The Master Cattle Producers program provides an opportunity for producers to attend 10 three-hour educational sessions on topics related to the production of cattle and forage, said Dr. Jason Rowntree, LSU AgCenter assistant animal science professor and coordinator of the Master Cattle Producer Program.

"Implementing production practices that are taught in the Master Farmer Program has changed the way I farm on my place," said Cliff Vining, president of the Louisiana Forage and Grassland Council from Pioneer.

The increased production of forages and grasses by cattle producers also will help enhance the food for some wildlife species – especially deer, said LSU AgCenter wildlife specialist Dr. Don Reed.

"Wildlife leases provide an additional income source for the landowner," said Reed, adding, "Wildlife leases in the state average $5 per acre with a range of $2 to $70 per acre."

Reed said landowners should become familiar with the trespass law that was recently passed in Louisiana. If litigation occurs, the new law places the burden of proof on the person trespassing. And the property does not need to be fenced or posted, he said.

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

The winners in this year’s hay quality contest were:

–Grand Champion Hay Award, 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, Larry Granier, East Feliciana Parish.

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

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

Other topics that were discussed at the conference included a comparison of bermudagrass varieties, the use of forages in land stewardship and implementing government programs to reduce soil loss.

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 
                    Jason Rowntree (225) 578-3345 or jrowntree@agcenter.lsu.edu 
                    Don Reed at (225) 683-5848 or dreed@agcenter.lsu.edu
Writer:         John Chaney at (318) 473-6589 or jchaney@agcenter.lsu.edu

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