Farmers encouraged to test hay

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hundreds of area farmers, residents and agriculture students attended the annual Southwest Center Agriculture Education Field Day on Sept. 13 near Mt. Vernon.

Attendees sat through a variety of 30-minute lectures at different stations presented by Missouri agricultural specialists.

At the forages station, interested parties learned about stretching their hay supplies during the current drought.

Farmers were encouraged to have their hay tested for nutrient content in order to predict what their future herd nutrition needs would be.

Hay feeding practices were also discussed.

Farmers were encouraged to use hay rings to lessen the amount of wasted forage. In research conducted by the University of Missouri, bales fed in the field without the use of rings incurred a 30 to 70 percent waste loss compared to a 5 to 8 percent loss using ring feeders.

At the horticulture station, backyard tomato production was presented.

Tim Reinbott, a Horticultural Specialist for the university of Missouri, explained the options available to backyard gardeners.

Attendees were given tips on choosing the right variety of tomatoes for their needs, along with proper pest management and growing conditions.

A large crowd gathered at the beef station to listen to Joe Horner, beef specialist for the University of Missouri, who gave smart choices for the survival of the beef farmer.

Horner stated that the drought made the choice of culling the underperforming cows easier.

"We (farmers) all have those problem cows that we have hung onto for various reasons," said Horner. "Now that our forage, hay and feed stores are depleting it makes it easier to cull those animals."

Making sure the herds have water and being smart on which forages you seed and buy are keys to survival.

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