This past March 8th and 9th, I attended a Hay and Baleage Short Course put on by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. The location was in Waynesboro GA, just South of Augusta. There was an incredible amount of info dispensed at the course and one thing stood out to me above all else, the University of Georgia takes haying seriously. I think all but one topic was presented by a Phd of some discipline and the one person that didn't have a Phd, was working on one. The depth of knowledge amongst these folks was steep. I listened, took notes and asked a lot of questions.
1. How to Cut, Cure and Handle High Quality Hay.
2. Preventing Hay Molding and Heating.
3. Hay Storage Systems.
4. Hay for Horses: Figuring Out What Horse Owners Want.
5. Climate Outlook and Implications for the Hay Market.
6. Drought Management
7. Problem Insects and What to Do About Them.
8. Problem Weeds and What to Do About Them.
9. The Uptake, Mode of Action and Fate of Herbicides Used in Hayfields.
10. Herbicide Resistance: A Growing Issue for Hay Producers.
11. Understanding Forage Quality.
12. Improving Forage Quality.
13. Balancing a Ration Utilizing Hay Samples.
14. Fine-Tuning Forage Fertilization.
15. Alfalfa Production in the South.
16. Forage Bermudagrass Varietees for Southeastern Hay Producers.
17. Methods for Vegetative Establishment.
18. Economics of Baled Silage.
19. Keys to Making Baled Silage.
Friday afternoon, we left the Extension office building class-room/auditorium and met at the Southeast Research and Education Center - a research farm of about 700 acres if I recall correctly. There we watched demos of haying equipment, but most importantly the UGA staff demonstrated equipment used to take hay forage samples, methods for forage analysis, as well as, soil and plant tissue sampling. Rolled-up in all of this was interpreting the results.
Prior to going, we were asked to purchase and read the following book, "Southern Forages." It is a book I would recommend.
Question: Why attend such a conference? I burned a couple days of my day job vacation and there was a fair amount of expense involved.
Answer: At the Jamison Family Farm, we want to know what we are doing and why - every step of the way. This Hay and Baleage Short Course was a means to that end.
Continuing education is an integral part of making First Quality Hay.