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Forages: Principles, Practices & Profitability

Forage specialists emphasize forage management strategies can lessen reliance on grain.
Don Ball
“Results require investments. You rarely get something for nothing,” said Don Ball

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Jan. 29, 2016) — Longtime forage specialists Garry Lacefield and Don Ball informed and entertained attendees with their forage knowledge during a Learning Lounge session Jan. 29 in San Diego, Calif., at the 2016 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show. The duo, who are longtime friends, both have professor emeritus status — Ball from Auburn University and Lacefield from the University of Kentucky.

Lacefield shared several sobering statistics.

Lacefield noted those are all challenges that agriculture must address as food is produced to feed the world. Additionally, he acknowledged that grain feeding will always exist, but he expressed his belief that opportunities exist to improve forage management and to lessen time on grain, which in turn may reduce costs.

Don Ball
“The goal should be to have a system that will optimize the number of days grazing and minimize the number of days using stored feed. Every day grazed is money saved,” Garry Lacefield told attendees of a Jan. 29 Learning Lounge session in the NCBA Trade Show.

With regard to food production, Lacefield noted the question must always be asked: “How much did it cost to get there?”

To improve profitability, Ball shared that there are several strategies to evaluate. Topping the list is to now your forage crop options and your animals’ nutritional needs.

Additional strategies include exercising good grazing management, utilizing legumes, minimizing stored feed needs and soil testing, among others.

Most importantly, Ball emphasized, “Results require investments. You rarely get something for nothing.”

Lacefield concluded, “The goal should be to have a system that will optimize the number of days grazing and minimize the number of days using stored feed. Every day grazed is money saved.”

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