sealPurdue News

May 16, 2002

Hay there! Purdue Forage Day offers management advice

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Dairy farmers get out of their cows what they put into them. The better the hay that goes in one end, the more milk that comes out at the other.

Producing top-quality hay and pasture is the mission of the 2002 Purdue Forage Day. The annual field day takes place June 13 at the Milco Dairy Farm, located south of U.S. 40 on County Road 275 E., Lewisville, Ind., near New Castle.

The event features forage workshops in the morning, and forage equipment and harvest demonstrations in the afternoon. Other highlights include a hay contest, trade show and tour of the Milco dairy.

Forage Day is geared to ruminant livestock and horse owners but is open to everyone. The event is free and lunch is available for a nominal charge.

The workshops address a range of forage and dairy management issues, said Keith Johnson, Purdue Cooperative Extension Service forage specialist and Forage Day coordinator. Forage and dairy sessions run concurrently, from 9-11 a.m.

"We have topics that relate to getting a crop of hay cut and into the package of a bale in a shorter period of time," said Johnson, who teams with graduate student Jeremy Sweeten to lead a forage session titled, "Managing Mother Nature."

Purdue graduate student Brad Shelton will address the impact of aeration on incorporation of fertilizer into a hay and pasture setting in another session, Johnson said.

"We also have Kess Berg, a graduate student, who'll look at the affects of phosphorus and potassium fertilization and the benefit associated with that," he said. "And it seems like every year we have issues with insects of some type or another, so Purdue entomologist Larry Bledsoe will talk about insect management in forages."

Specialists from other land-grant universities head up the dairy sessions.

"Dealing with the harvest and quality aspect of the crop is Mark Sulc from Ohio State University," Johnson said. "Steve Washburn of North Carolina State University will speak about technology to shorten calving interval. These practices are an important part of the economies of profitable dairy farms."

Milco tours are scheduled during the lunch hour. The dairy is a modern confinement facility, operated by Nicco and Millie Niessen.

Forage machinery demonstrations are slated from 1-4:30 p.m. The trade show runs all day.

As always, farmers are invited to participate in the Hay Quality Contest. Participants must bring one unbroken bale of grass, legume or mixed forage. Winning entries in the three divisions will be announced within 10 days of the contest. Winners will receive a certificate and forage-related products, courtesy of agribusiness sponsors.

Although Forage Day is free, visitors are asked to register when they arrive. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Because of potential biosecurity risks to Milco livestock, those who have traveled overseas after June 5 are asked not to attend.

For more information, including a complete Forage Day schedule and map, log onto the Forage Day Web site. Those with additional questions may contact Johnson at (765) 494-4800,; or Jonathan Ferris, county educator, Purdue Extension Henry County, at (765) 529-5002,

Forage Day is sponsored by Purdue Extension, the Indiana Forage Council and the Indiana Professional Dairy Producers.

Writer: Steve Leer, (765) 494-8415,

Sources: Keith Johnson, (765) 494-4800,

Jonathan Ferris, (765) 529-5002,

Related Web site:
Purdue Forage Information

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes,;

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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