Livestock producers looking to improve their animal operations and increase their financial bottom line can learn innovative forage production techniques during a series of forage workshops taught by experts from Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. The techniques can offer significant long-term monetary benefits for dairy, beef and sheep producers, organizers said.
The workshops, to be held Jan. 30, Feb. 4 and Feb. 11, will feature cutting-edge information on forage production, including forage genetics, weed control and double cropping, said Bill Weiss, an Ohio State University Extension dairy nutritionist with the Department of Animal Sciences at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC).
OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of the college.
Participants can learn how to maximize profit per acre in Ohio's variable weather and explore forage cutting management strategies, double cropping options, and silage production within the context of income, harvest costs and potential impact on milk production, Weiss said.
"The bottom line is for producers to learn how to produce more high-quality forages at lower costs," he said. "Since forage is the basis of most cattle and sheep diets, if producers are able to get cheaper, better forages, that should reduce their overall feed costs which should improve overall profitability.
"For ruminant animals like cattle and sheep the bottom line is producing good, high-quality forages. That's the key to successful profitable operations."
Workshop topics include small grains and double cropping, fertility and manure utilization, agronomic products and additives, precision agricultural technologies for forage production, forage quality evaluation, economics of cutting management, shrink in silage/hay making, forage inventory management and corn silage.
Participants will also be able to interact with researchers and Extension specialists to learn innovative ways at looking at forage production to determine what works best for them, Weiss said.
"Forages supply a significant part of the feed in most dairy and other ruminant animal operations in Ohio," he said. "This is an opportunity for producers to learn about the new research and new technology to help them make the most of this valuable resource."
The workshops are from 12:45-3:30 p.m. each day. The course will be offered in Ashtabula, Darke, Licking, Mahoning, Morrow and Wayne counties via interactive video feeds and in-person speakers, Weiss said.