By Maggie Lawrence
AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – The Alabama Forage Conference returns this year as a three-day event. Held every two years, this year’s conference is Dec. 1 through 3 at the A.W. Todd Centre in Russellville, Alabama.
Leanne Dillard, a forage specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, said this year’s expanded conference combines talks and panel discussions with demonstrations and a tour.
“The first day offers demonstrations where farmers will get practical, research-based recommendations to enhance their forage operations,” Dillard said. “Dec. 2 will be a full day with talks including sessions on tall fescue and bahiagrass management among others.”
Speakers and Topics
Dillard said the conference will host many speakers that will discuss topics important to improving forage production.
“Forages are big business in Alabama so it’s vital we help producers improve their operations,” Dillard said. “In 2020, 750,000 acres were harvested for forages in state with a value of more than $218 million.”
Forage Exhibition Topics
The exhibition will open Dec. 1 at Noon at the A.W. Todd Centre. Demonstrations will run from 1 to 4 p.m.
- Calibration Central –A how-to demo of calibrating sprayers and no-till drills to guarantee accurate and uniform chemical application and planting.
- What’s Happening Down Below? – A hands-on demonstration of how grazing management affects the plant above and belowground.
- Can You Guess the Bale Weights? – How much do bale weights actual vary?
- Fill ‘Em Fast and Seal ‘Em Tight – Proper bale wrapping is important to ensure proper fermentation and maintain forage quality.
- In Hay Production: The Devil is in the Details – Improper setup of hay equipment can leave money literally laying on the ground or worse, destroy it.
- Year-round Grazing: Fact or Fiction? – Achieving year-round grazing can be a challenge. Annual forages can help bridge gaps in perennial forage production and reduce time on feed.
Forage Conference Topics
Producers will hear from a number of speakers during the main portion of the conference Dec. 2. Featured speakers include Gary Bates, University of Tennessee, discussing tall fescue management and Marcelo Wallau, University of Florida, speaking about bahiagrass for north Alabama. Other topics include fire ant management, cover crop grazing, forage variety trials and pasture-based heifer development.
“The conference is a great opportunity for producers to interact with Extension agents and industry professionals alike,” Dillard said.
Dec. 3, Alabama Extension professionals will lead participants on a pasture walk at a farm near Russellville.
This meeting is a hybrid meeting. In-person registration for all three events is $65. For the virtual meeting, the cost is $35 and is presented via Zoom. To register or for more information about the 2021 Alabama Forage Conference, visit www.aces.edu/go/forageconference. People can also contact Dillard at firstname.lastname@example.org or 334-844-7514.