For many Barren and surrounding counties participants, we were treated to a fantastic Heart of America Grazing Conference at the Cave City Convention Center last Wednesday and Thursday. Hopefully, you were able to attend.

This regional conference attracted producers from all across the country. There were people in attendance from as far away as Oregon and Montana. Of course, many local and surrounding states’ producers were in attendance. Besides the great range of attendance, the crowd packed the huge Cave City Convention Center. Even though participants were here for only a couple of days, we proudly showed off south central Kentucky to many new friends.

Beyond all that, the program was absolutely fantastic for anyone interested in forages and how to use them to the best advantage.

Perfect information for our area was presented, since we rely on forages for most of our agriculture enterprises. We found throughout the conference that producers, nationwide, are using similar concepts for forage growth and use.

Speakers included of both researchers and farmers, giving the audience an opportunity to hear the technical “stuff” and also how it actually works in real life experiences.

Many folks are familiar with our past by hosting the annual State Alfalfa Conference but this year we were able to host this grazing conference, which is rotated throughout six states that consider themselves in the “Heart of America”. The State Alfalfa Conference will be held later (in February) but will be at a new location this year, in central Kentucky.

The participants remained attentive throughout the entire session, which is a great way to measure the usefulness of any particular program.

Besides an outstanding program, we should be very proud to have such a convention facility as we do at the Cave City Convention Center. The staff should be commended for the professionalism and outstanding arrangements they provided. Barren County was well received by those attended, from comments expressed to me. And as I am sure you know if you have ever been to an activity at the convention center, the food is absolutely wonderful.

Obviously, I want to express thanks to our community and the hospitality shown to our many out of area guests, last week. Also, those who attended, I think you were able to take home lots of information that can carry your grazing operation into even more intensive and useful production of forages for your livestock.

Next year, this conference is scheduled to be held in Mount Vernon, Illinois.

– Private Pesticide Training

Producers who need to be certified as Private Pesticide Applicators will have an opportunity in the near future to go through the training program, locally. We will offer two sessions in February to get this accomplished.

The dates and starting time for our training programs are: Feb. 16 beginning at 6:30 p.m. and Feb. 20 beginning at 1 p.m. All these sessions will be held at the Barren County Extension Office.

These sessions last about two hours and anyone who participates must be at the training before the start time and remain for the entire session. We cannot tolerate late arrivals and a participant must go through the entire program before applying for the private pesticide applicator certification.

– Soil Sampling

I keep harping on this management point, but this year is one to definitely know the fertility levels of your lands, especially if you will be applying fertilizer and lime. No doubt, crops need supplemental elements to produce outstanding yields. With the current costs of fertilizer producers need to plan for its proper use, because an impact can be made on crop production, good or bad.

A good random sample of soils from any particular field can be a wealth of knowledge to make good management decisions. A pint of dry soil is all we, the UK Cooperative Extension Service, need to test each field. Fertilizer recommendations will be provided based on UK and USDA research and can be further fine tuning for your yield goal consideration, in which we will gladly review with you.

Taking samples now will allow ample time to get the information back from the lab and before fertilizer will need to be applied. Don’t procrastinate, get your sampling done and gear up early for 2006!

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