Forage growers in the Southwest can access important industry information, including potential solutions to common issues, at the 2023 Southwest Hay & Forage Conference.
The conference will take place Jan. 26-27, 2023, at the Ruidoso Convention Center, 111 Sierra Blanca Drive in Ruidoso, New Mexico. The event is hosted by New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and the New Mexico Hay Association.
Mark Marsalis, NMSU Extension forage specialist, said the conference addresses common issues that growers face daily, including baling challenges, high input costs, water management and pest control.
Participants will also have the opportunity to speak directly to consultants, industry representatives, researchers and specialists.
The 2023 conference will feature nationally recognized forage experts presenting on various cutting-edge topics. University of Wisconsin Professor Emeritus Dan Undersander will highlight a new laboratory test that gives producers an estimate of their leaf retention during the baling process. The test is called LEAF, or Leaves Enhance Alfalfa Forage, and is available in select laboratories.
In addition, exciting work has been conducted investigating the salinity thresholds of alfalfa, and new developments have challenged conventional wisdom on alfalfa’s ability to tolerate saline soil conditions. Sharon Benes, professor of soil science and crop nutrition at California State University, Fresno, will present the latest on salinity testing, along with decision support tools to aid in figuring leaching requirements.
“As more and more marginal ground is used for crop production and as more alternative waters will be required for irrigation, it is critical that we understand how to better manage these waters and soils in our alfalfa operations,” Marsalis said.
Fertilizer prices have skyrocketed in recent years, and producers often wonder if fertilizing during these times pays. Steve Norberg of Washington State University will highlight recent work done on evaluating the economics of fertilization of alfalfa under inflated fertilizer and commodity prices. Marsalis will provide an overview of other fertilizer studies conducted in the West related to yield and economic benefit.
“Each year, various pests in the form of insects, weeds and vertebrate pests cost New Mexico hay growers millions of dollars,” Marsalis said. “It is important that growers understand the pests they are dealing with, and the management options available to them.”
Pest-related (CEU-qualifying) presentations will include:
– Nematodes: Are they Impacting Your Alfalfa?, Don Miller, alfalfa consultant.
– Toxicity Issues with Forages in Livestock, John Wenzel, NMSU veterinarian.
– Pesticide & Regulatory Update by Steve Baca, New Mexico Department of Agriculture.
Two new forage-related pests have been found in New Mexico the last couple of years. Stem nematodes were found in alfalfa for the first time ever in New Mexico in 2020, and Miller will provide a synopsis of what to look for, how this pest can be detected and how it can be managed.
A new exotic plant species was discovered in New Mexico in 2022, the sandwort drymary. This plant has caused deaths in livestock and wildlife due to its extreme toxicity. Wenzel will give an overview of what is known so far with this plant, as well as general livestock toxicities common to New Mexico producers.
Recent shakeups in the crop seed industry and limited seed supplies have caused some uncertainty recently. Miller will provide insight into recent changes and how the seed future may look moving forward.
Ongoing droughts continue to plague the Southwest and challenge agricultural production in the region. A water outlook will be provided by Andrew Mangham with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque. In addition, Senninger Irrigation will present the latest sprinkler package efficiencies, technologies and maximizing water-use.
A hot topic in agricultural circles is carbon sequestration and carbon credits. Anson Howard, attorney and the head of River Ranch in Texas, will present information on carbon credits and what potential there is for carbon contracts on various types of land.
Daran Rudnick of the University of Nebraska will highlight the university’s unique Testing Ag Performance Solutions, or UNL-TAPS, program. The program is an interactive real-life farm management competition that looks at on-farm profitability and input-use efficiency, which has been a successful alternative research and Extension effort particularly focused on row-crop production.
Other presentations include marketing strategies and reducing risk by Russ Tronstad with the University of Arizona, and a legislative update provided by the New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau.
The two-day conference will also feature a machinery trade show. During the trade show and industry updates portions of the conference, participants will hear from ag-industry representatives on the latest chemical, seed, equipment and other products available.
Comedian Bob Farmer of the Farmers’ Almanac will provide entertainment following the conference’s social hour and dinner Jan. 26. New for the 2023 conference, following dinner, is an Ace-in-the-Hole Casino Party and fundraiser that will be held for participants to try their hand at competing with their friends and win cash prizes.
The special spouses’ interest session, “Painting with Peggy Krantz” returns this year, and is available for $30 a person.
Three New Mexico pesticide applicator continuing education units have been requested for this meeting. CEUs for Texas and Arizona have been requested, as well Certified Crop Advisor credits.
Pre-registration is $125 a person before Dec. 31. Attendees may register after Dec. 31 online or at the door for $150. Annual membership dues to the New Mexico Hay Association are $55.
Vendor booth space and sponsorship opportunities are available. Those interested in being a vendor or sponsor are asked to contact Ravae Leonard at 575-910-9000, or visit http://www.nmhay.com.
For more information, including a full agenda, visit http://www.nmhay.com or https://forages.nmsu.edu. Registration and payment options are available at http://www.nmhay.com.Source : nmsu.edu