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Forage producers discuss nutrition at annual meeting

News Release Distributed 12/15/14

ALEXANDRIA, La. – Forage producers discussed the benefits of different forage systems and human nutrition at the Louisiana Forage and Grass Council’s annual conference on Dec. 5.

LSU AgCenter forage specialist Ed Twidwell, who serves as secretary for the council, said each year they try to bring in a variety of speakers, which includes people from the industry and producers to give their experiences in growing forages.

“If I had to name an overall theme for this year’s meeting, I think it would be growing forages for the late summer and early fall,” Twidwell said. “We had some producers talk about the things they plant to help to get them through that period.”

That is typically the period of the year when it’s pretty dry and there’s not a lot of forage production, Twidwell said. Producers like to plant something in the summer that will carry them into winter.

A producer panel discussed various options for late summer and early fall forage production. Some of the options discussed were forage radishes, cowpeas, stockpiling Bermuda grass and Alyce clover.

Twidwell said the market for forage-fed beef seems to be increasing across the state with the growing number of farmers markets and the demand for locally grown products.

“But I would want growers to be aware that it takes high-quality forage and a lot of it to be successful in that market,” he said.

On the program promoting the consumption of beef and other animal products was Peter Ballerstedt, forage product manager for the Barenburg Group in Tangent, Oregon.

Ballerstedt said many Americans believe fat from animal products is bad for their health, but can in fact be part of a healthy diet.

“A number of people would be able to restore their health by switching to a diet that is lower in carbohydrates and higher in animal products,” he said, noting that most of the carbs Americans eat come from cereal grains and caloric sweeteners.

It doesn’t matter what type of animal products, Ballerstedt said. “Whether it’s beef, pork, chicken or fish, barring certain food allergies, they are all acceptable.”

Hay awards were also given at the annual meeting. For warm-season grasses, winners were: first place, Floyd Volentine, Caddo Parish; second place, Charlie Young, Desoto Parish; and third place, Gene Foster, Lincoln Parish.

The winner of the legume category was Russell Kent, East Feliciana Parish.

Winners in the annual ryegrass category were: first place, Carroll Charpentier, Terrebonne Parish; second place, Billy Franklin, DeSoto Parish; and third place, Bonchasse Land and Cattle, DeSoto Parish.

The overall grand champion of the hay show was Carroll Charpentier, with his ryegrass hay sample. The winner of the Master Forage Producer Award was Sherman Cravins of St. Landry Parish.

The meeting concluded with the election of officers, and LSU AgCenter agronomist Kun-Jun Han became the new president of the organization.

Johnny Morgan

Last Updated: 12/15/2014 4:17:03 PM

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