UT Beef and Forage Center

Forage Management and Production- Monthly Article

Gary BatesDr. Gary Bates, Professor and Director, UT Beef and Forage Center    

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There are a lot of things that I enjoy about my job as Forage Specialist with UT Extension.  The opportunity to help producers across the state with specific problems, writing articles, and speaking at meetings are just a few.  One of the things that I enjoy is helping the Tennessee Forage and Grassland Council develop the program for their annual conference.  On November 3 in Nashville the TFGC will hold their 34th annual conference.  The lineup of speakers for this conference is outstanding.  Here is an overview of the day’s program.

Drought issues – Even though this year’s production hasn’t been impacted by drought, during any summer we are just a couple weeks away from serious drought problems.  Several of the topics for this year’s program will deal with drought management.  Dr. Chris Teutsch, forage specialist with the University of Kentucky, will be discussing the physiological response plants have to drought, and using new summer annual varieties to minimize drought impacts.  I will be discussing 3 management practices to minimize drought. 

Latest research results – The TFGC is always interested in the latest scientific discoveries that can benefit forage producers.  Tying in with the drought discussion, Dr. Justin Rhinehart, UT beef specialist, will be discussing some of the latest UT research on cattle production from warm-season grasses.  Dr. Renata Nave, UT forage research, will be showing some of her research results using alfalfa in tall fescue and bermudagrass.  Dr. David Butler, organic crops specialist with UT, will present his research on species selection for organic forage production.

The conference will begin at 9 am CT in the Ed Jones Auditorium at the Ellington Ag Center in Nashville.  Registration is $25, and will begin at 8 am.  The program will run until approximately 2 pm CT, and lunch will be provided.

My first TFGC conference was on Nov 18, 1993.  I remember that because I left that afternoon to travel to Baton Rouge to get married on the 20th.  I traveled to Nashville with my good friend Professor Joe Burns.  Joe was one of the main people responsible for heading up the effort to form the council.  I had so much respect for Joe that now, 9 years after he passed away, I still try to make sure we put together a program that would make him proud.  I have no doubt he would be pleased with this one. 

I would encourage you to make plans to attend this conference.  There will be lots of good information shared, and opportunities to learn more ways to make your operation more successful.