In descending order, by date published.
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a warm-season, perennial bunch-type grass native to the North American Tallgrass Prairie. It has been investigated as a renewable energy crop due to its high productivity across a wide geographic range including various environmental conditions and soil types. Switchgrass has also been used for erosion control, summer grazing in pasture and hay systems for cattle, native prairie restoration, wildlife habitat, fiber production, and as an ornamental grass.
Crabgrass possesses significant potential for supplying high quality summer forage although it is considered a weed by many. A primary advantage of crabgrass is that it is well adapted to Kentucky and occurs naturally in most summer pastures, especially those that have been overgrazed. It is also highly palatable and a prolific re-seeder. Planting an improved variety of crabgrass is recommended because the production of naturally-occurring ecotypes varies greatly. Crabgrass is best utilized by grazing.
Knowing the nutritional quality of forage and hay is an integral part of a profitable and efficient livestock operation. Accurate estimation of forage quality starts with obtaining a representative sample of the forage to be fed. Proper sampling technique is critical. Hay is preserved in different packages ranging from the small square bale weighing 40-50 lb to the large square bale weighing more than 1500 lb. In Kentucky, most hay is packaged in large round bales weighing between 500 and 1500 lb. Wrapped bale silage is also gaining popularity and should be sampled in a similar manner to large round hay bales with the exceptions listed here.
Authors: Bernadette Amsden, Samantha Anderson, Ric Bessin, Susan Fox, Nicole Ward Gauthier, Ross Guffey, Tom Keene, Tyler Mark, Bob Pearce, Christopher Schardl, Jonathan Shepherd, Frank Sikora, Desiree Szarka, Raul Villanueva
Hemp is grown for fiber, grain, and cannabinoid extraction in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Until recently, Cannabis sativa has been classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance in the US. The Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill) allowed for reintroduction of industrial hemp under a pilot research program. Acreage increases and addition of state legislation resulted in over 78,000 acres of hemp grown in 23 states by the end of 2018. Hemp became a legal commodity under the 2018 Farm Bill, and by the end of 2019, over 500,000 licensed acres were documented across 45 states. Canada re-introduced the crop in 1998, and in 2018, almost 78,000 acres of hemp were licensed and planted.
Departments: Agricultural Economics, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, Entomology, Graves County, Lyon County, Plant and Soil Sciences, Plant Pathology, Regulatory Services
Series: Special Report (SR series)
Size: 9.60 mb
Wide fluctuations in springtime temperature are common in Kentucky. Late freezing temperatures in the spring can cause damage to alfalfa depending on how far along it is in breaking dormancy. This publication provides information on the effect of low spring temperatures on both established and new alfalfa stands that have begun growth, as well as a method of predicting sensitivity to late frosts or freezes.
In Kentucky, cool-season grasses produce ample forage in the spring and fall, but high temperatures and short-term drought stress often limits growth during the summer months. Warm-season annual grasses can fill this gap with relatively high quality forage when properly managed. The purpose of this publication is to provide an overview of the various summer annuals for Kentucky.
Forage sorghum is the tallest of the summer annuals, reaching 6 to 15 feet in height and is best harvested as silage. Taller varieties produce high forage yield but can lodge, making them difficult to harvest mechanically. Some varieties have been developed that are shorter with increased resistance to lodging. Forage sorghums, like corn, are harvested once per season by direct chopping. While forage sorghum yields are similar to corn, they are lower in energy. The primary advantage of utilizing sorghum for silage production is its greater drought tolerance.
The primary benefits of pearl millet are that it does not contain prussic acid and is not susceptible to the sugarcane aphid. Dwarf varieties are available, which are leafier and better suited for grazing.
Foxtail millet (German millet) is a fine-stemmed summer annual used mainly for emergency hay or pasture for cattle. It is the lowest yielding of the summer annual grasses since it will not regrow after cutting. It can also be used as a smoother crop when transitioning to other perennial forage crops. Foxtail millet is also commonly used for wildlife plantings to produce food and cover for doves, quail, and other birds.
Sorghum-sudangrass hybrids are developed by crossing sorghum with true sudangrass. The result is an annual grass that resembles sudangrass, but has coarser stems, taller growth habit, and higher yields. Like sudangrass, hybrids will regrow after grazing if growth is not limited by environmental factors. The coarse stems are difficult to cure as dry hay, therefore these grasses are best utilized for grazing, chopped silage and baleage.
Switchgrass is a versatile grass that can be utilized for forage or biomass production. Establishing and maintaining switchgrass is also beneficial to many types of wildlife by providing suitable habitat and cover.
Native warm-season perennial grasses are well adapted for production in Kentucky's climate and soils. In this publication, native warm-season perennial grasses that have the greatest forage potential for Kentucky are described. Management techniques necessary to establish stands and keep them productive are also discussed.