August 26, 2008

Training day helps producers unravel forage issues

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University will host a Forage Management Training Day Sept. 4 in West Lafayette for producers and industry representatives to learn about fertilizing forages, proper harvest management and coated seeds, among other issues.

"We'll discuss best management practices and how to get the most out of your forage stand," said Keith Johnson, Purdue Extension forage management expert. "I hope people better understand not only how to do these things, but also why they should do it."

The training day will begin at 8:30 a.m. with registration and will conclude at 3:45 p.m.  Registration costs $80, which includes lunch, refreshments and educational materials.  A reservation must be made by Sept. 3 by calling (765) 494-4773. A registration brochure can be downloaded at The training day will be at the Purdue Crop Diagnostic Training and Research Center, at 4540 U.S. 52 West.

One of the issues that Johnson wants producers to be aware of is coated legume seed.  He said producers might under seed if they are not careful.

"The industry has put a coating on many of its legume seeds, particularly alfalfa, red clover and white clover," Johnson said. "This coating can weigh approximately one-third of the weight of a 50-pound bag."

Johnson said that if the purity content on the tag of the seed bag is around 67 percent, chances are the seed is coated.

"For example, let's say the seed is coated and you don't know it because you didn't look at the tag. But you want to plant red clover to improve the quality of the tall fescue grass pasture," he said. "You intend to plant 6 pounds of red clover seed per acre on 30 acres, so you order 180 pounds and seed it. But with the coating, there is actually only 120 pounds of seed or about 4 pounds per acre and you may not get the desired results."

Johnson said, however, there are some good things about the coating.

"First it has a little bit of limestone, which many times carries an inoculant for nitrogen fixation," he said. "Also, there will typically be a fungicide included to reduce the number of seedlings killed by pathogens. This also is a nice, more clean approach for applying fungicides and inoculants."

Producers need to ask questions to know what they are getting so they don’t end up in a surprise situation, Johnson said. Be sure and look at the seed tag.

Other topics and speakers at the training day include:

* Selecting forages, Susannah Hinds, Natural Resources and Conservation Service grazing specialist.

* Fertilizing forages, Jim Camberato, Purdue Extension soil fertility and plant nutrition expert.

* Thought process to mixing forages and byproducts properly for silage, Dennis Buckmaster, Purdue agricultural engineer.

* Why proper harvest management reduces stress on forages, Jeff Volenec, Purdue Extension crop physiology specialist.

* Understanding the seed tag, Larry Nees, seed administrator at the Office of the Indiana State Chemist.

* What is this in my pasture - wheat and forage identification, Brad Shelton, Purdue Extension educator in Washington County.

Certified crop advisers can earn up to six continuing education units, one in pest management, four in crop management and one in nutrient management. Farmers and industry representatives can also earn two continuing certification hours in Category 1 (agricultural pest management) and RT (registered technician).

For additional information and an agenda, go to For questions and more information, contact Johnson at (765) 494-4800 or

Writer: Julie Douglas, (765) 496-1050,

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

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

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