Steelman: Is Spring around the corner?

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New approaches to Forage Production:
Key considerations for high quality forages
Master Dairy Producer - The much anticipated schedule of the 2015 Master Dairy Program has just been released! Farmers interested in becoming certified as a "Master Dairy Producer" will need to attend 2 of the 3 modules offered during 2015. The Tennessee Dairy Producers Association annual meeting and educational classes counted for one module if you attended. The second module this spring will be held at the TSU Nursery Research Center on March 16, 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM. The cost for the course will be $25 and includes all materials as well as snacks and lunch. It is anticipated this certification will satisfy the educational requirements for those intending to apply for the 50 percent cost share through the TAEP program. For more information or to register please call UT Cannon County Extension at (615) 563-2554. This program, like all UT Extension programs, is open to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability or veteran status.

The forage production module will be offered at:
- Lewisburg (Marshall County) - March 12, Russell Catering 220 Water Street, Lewisburg, TN 37091
- McMinnville (Warren County) - March 16, TSU Nursery Research Station, 472 Cadillac Lane, McMinnville, TN 37110

Cannon/Warren 2015 Small Farms Conference
Vegetables, Fruits, Beekeeping, Small Ruminants, and More!
Have you have ever wanted to grow and market your own fruits, vegetables, or honey? Or perhaps you want to become involved in the beef, sheep or goat market. Then this conference is for you! Local experts along with specialists with UT Extension and The Center for Profitable Agriculture will be on hand to discuss the entire process from production to sales. Cost for the course will be $25.00 for all meetings, materials and snacks. Please call and register before Friday, March 13th at the Cannon County University of Tennessee Office at 615-563-2554 or email at Location, times, dates and subject material are listed below. All Classes will be held at the TSU Nusery Research Station located at 472 Cadillac Lane McMinnville, TN 37110 and begin at 6:30 PM
Tuesday, March 17th Fruits: Lee Allen Turner (Turner & Sons Nursery) George Smartt
Tuesday March 24th Vegetables and Honey: John Ferrell (Extension Agent, Franklin County) Fred Fann (Highland Rim Beekeepers)
Tuesday March 31st Records and Marketing: Megan Leffew (Center for Profitable Agriculture) Dallas Manning (area farm management specialist)
Mary Cantrell (MGR. Warren County Farmer's Market)
Tuesday, April 7th Small Ruminants and Beef: Rick Skillington (UT Extension, Marshall County) Michael Simpson (Warren County Livestock)

Spring is Just Around the Corner, Hopefully
Looking for Spring- Although it may seem elusive, spring is just around the corner. There are several things we can do to improve our pastures and forages. Even though very little growth is occurring in pastures and hayfields across the state, late winter and early spring are critical times for the productivity of these fields.
Take a soil test and fertilize accordingly. We often shortchange our pastures when it comes to fertilizer. And if we do fertilize, it may be with something like 19-19-19, without knowing if this is meeting the requirements for adequate pasture growth or not. Now is the time to take a soil test in order to determine the fertilizer requirements of the pasture. Use the results to get a fertilizer mixed that will provide optimum growth of the pasture when it needs to be fertilized in early March. Visit the UT Soil, Plant and Pest Center website for instructions regarding testing the soil on your property:
Control buttercup and thistle. These two weeds have become a big problem across the state says the forage expert. The good thing is that they are both relatively easy to control. The bad thing is that it is hard to remember to do it. Now though late March is the time to spray these weeds. After 3 days in which the high temperature reaches 60 degrees, apply 2 pints per acre of 2, 4-D ester per acre. This rate of 2, 4-D will not kill established white clover. If clover is not present, and you have buckhorn or broadleaf plantain, use 4 pints/acre. As always read and follow all label instructions. Finally, be sure to spray the weeds before you see any blooms. If you delay until April, you will be disappointed in the results.
Seed red and white clover into pastures. Adding clovers to pastures as they can help productivity in several ways. First, they decrease the nitrogen fertilizer requirement for pastures, since they take nitrogen from the atmosphere and use it. Second, they improve the protein and energy content of the forage the cattle will be consuming. Some clovers will lengthen the grazing season of a pasture.

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