Mid-America Alfalfa Expo & Conference coming up

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COZAD, NE—Winter survival following a drought and how to best manage through that situation will be one of the key topics discussed by Dr. Dan Undersander at the Mid-America Alfalfa Expo & Conference to be held Feb. 5-6 in Kearney.

“We’ll piece together how all of these weather situations may impact this year’s alfalfa crop, plus how to manage the crop during a drought. We’ll talk about when to cut it, and how to help the crop recover for the next cutting,” said Undersander, professor of agronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Undersander is leading several sessions as part of an abbreviated and Alfalfa Intensive Training Seminar, the full version of which was developed for the National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance. Material being utilized for the Alfalfa Expo & Conference, however, is being organized and focused more intently toward producers.

In addition to the drought and winter survival, he’ll discuss the use of trace minerals on alfalfa and tissue testing. “The environment is changing and we may need to look at different nutrients to produce the best crop,” he said. “For example, with less acid rain, some parts of the country may need additional sulfur. At the same time, companies are always promoting the latest and greatest fertilizer or product. We’ll talk about proper testing methods to know what, if anything, would help the crop the most.”

Another session will provide insight on managing insects, diseases and weeds. Undersander noted that recommendations have changed over the past few years because hay is worth more now. “Treatment options and recommendations for combating pests that were not appropriate before may certainly be a viable and good option now,” he said.

Sponsored by the Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association (N.A.M.A.), the Mid-America Alfalfa Expo & Conference will be held at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds in Kearney, Nebraska, February 5 and 6, 2013. The event is designed especially for alfalfa producers, livestock/dairy producers and others who are involved in alfalfa production, purchasing, hay feeding or processing.

Recently added to the conference speaker list is Dr. Alfredo DiCostanzo of the University of Minnesota, who will discuss the animal utilization of alfalfa. Confirmed participants in a producers’ panel include dairy producer John Johnson of Johnson Dairy in Eaton, Colo.; forage producer and exporter Drex Gaunt of Pasco, Wash., and a commodity buyer from central Nebraska.

A large alfalfa industry trade show and fundraising auction are also included during the two-day event. A new event this year, the "Forage Olympics," will pit teams of alfalfa producers and other conference participants competing in timed events such as hay strapping, stacking square bales and rolling large round bales.

Registration includes admission to all presentations and programs, a Tuesday afternoon reception, dinner Tuesday evening, admission to the large alfalfa industry trade show and the opportunity to bid in the fundraising auction that takes place Tuesday afternoon. The auction features a wide range of items including seed, harvesting equipment, supplies and other valuable products and services.

Registration is $10 per person in advance (tickets must be purchased by noon, February 1, 2013) and $20 at the door. Participants under the age of 18 are admitted at no charge. Registration is available online at www.AlfalfaExpo.com. For more information, call 1.800.743.1649 or visit www.AlfalfaExpo.com.



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