Aprils Ag Advice by April Borders Alfalfa is the most common legume grown for forage in South Dakota with about 2.3 million acres produced annually. Alfalfa is not the only crop though that can be grown to produce high quality hay. Hay can be a composition of one or more legumes or grasses at various proportions depending on the composition of the plants in the field from which the hay is harvested.
Grasses like timothy and orchardgrass can also be grown to produce high quality grass hay. Both timothy and orchardgrass are cool season grasses that can be grown in our area successfully. They both also produce hay that can have a high feeding value.
In order to let people know that there are other options for hay production than alfalfa alone, there will be a clinic on orchard grass and timothy production to be held on Monday, March 17 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the 4-H Center in Vermillion. SDSU, South 2 FEU and Dakota Premium Hay are sponsoring this clinic.
The program will focus primarily on the production of orchardgrass and timothy, including seedbed preparation and seeding rates, fertility, and pest management. Since hay is such a widely stored feed, it is important to understand the factors that affect hay quality. We will also address these factors including stage of maturity at harvest, moisture content, and storage. We will also cover other topics like hay market opportunities, harvest management and the economics of hay production. Speakers for the program are: Vance Owens, SDSU forage research and teaching; Jim Gerwing, SDSU soils specialist; Barry Dunn, SDSU range specialist; Steve Sutera, Extension educator � agronomy, Bon Homme County; April Borders, Extension educator � agronomy, Clay County and John Havershal, Dakota Premium Hay.
Producing high quality hay should be every producers goal. Crop management, proper fertilization and proper cutting time are important in allowing producers to raise higher quality hay.
The clinic is open to the public and lunch will be provided. Pre-register by March 14 if possible. If you have questions please feel free to call the Clay County Extension Office at 677-7111.
March 25 � Final PAT at Vermillion 4-H Center. Sessions at 1 and 6 p.m.