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With the drought this past summer, hay supplies are expected to be lower than normal going into the winter and quality is going to be a concern as well. To accurately, efficiently and economically determine your feeding and supplementation program, having your forages tested certainly should be a priority.
Producers in Hardin County have two good options available to them to provide them with accurate forage testing results.
The first is through the local County Cooperative Extension Service office, which has forage sampling probes that can be borrowed to collect samples from harvested forage. It will test those samples free of charge. Extension agents also will help you develop rations and/or recommend any needed supplements. Turnaround time for testing and results being made available generally runs about a week. All samples submitted to the Extension office are sent to Dairy One Laboratory in New York for analysis. With this option, it’s up to the producer to collect the various samples and deliver them to the Extension office.
The other option is provided by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s hay and haylage testing program. A trained individual will come to your farm, take samples of your hay or haylage, and get the test results back to you in a short period of time. The cost is $10 per “lot.” A “lot” of hay/haylage is hay/haylage taken from the same harvest, same field, same type of harvest conditions and with the same method of storage and the same weather conditions during harvest.
This program has been improved and expanded recently. To have your hay/haylage tested by KDA, call 800-248-4628. Along with the testing results, KDA also can help market your hay. Hay tested by KDA can be listed on KDA’s computer hay listing service. There is no additional charge for this service.
If you are needing to buy hay later this winter, or even now, call the same toll free number listed above for a list of tested hay for sale in Kentucky.
For additional information on either of these options for testing forages before we get into really cold weather, contact the Hardin County Cooperative Extension Service office at 765-4121.
MASTER CATTLEMEN PROGRAM TO BE OFFERED IN 2013. Interested beef and dairy producers are invited to participate in the Kentucky Heartland Master Cattlemen Program being offered probably for the last time next year. The program has been funded by the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund through the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy; however, principals with the program have been notified this probably will be the last time the successful program will receive funding.
The Kentucky Heartland program is targeted to cattle producers in Hardin, LaRue and Meade counties; however the program actually is open to any Kentucky cattle producer. Sessions are held on the third Tuesday night of each month except May and June. The 10, four-hour sessions cover all aspects of modern cattle production including nutrition, forages, genetics, reproduction, animal health, economics and marketing, end product, facilities, handling, management and environmental stewardship. Sessions begin at 5:30 p.m. and are held at each of the respective county Extension offices.
A $100-per-person registration fee is charged and covers all course materials, meals and refreshments. Class sizes are limited, and registrations are taken on a first-come, first-served basis.
To register, call the local county Extension office no later than close of business Jan. 11. Spots will be held with a $50 paid registration deposit. For more information, contact your local county Extension office.
Doug Shepherd is a Hardin County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources.