Hay growers and livestock producers in the southern half of South Carolina were keeping their fingers crossed last week, hoping for much-needed rain.

“It’s been fairly dry, particularly along the Savannah River Valley next to Georgia,” says John Andrae, forage specialist with Clemson University Extension. “The soils in that region are generally sandy and don’t have a lot of moisture-holding capacity. If we don’t get some significant rainfalls soon, producers there are likely to be short on grazing and hay production this year.”

The situation is somewhat different in the northern half of the state, where producers have wrapped up first-cut fescue. “Except for a few isolated pockets, rainfall in the north has been near average so far this year. Even though we are a little short of moisture, most yields have been pretty good.”

Bermudagrass growers there are also getting ready for first-crop harvest. “Because of the moisture, most growers are expecting average first-cut yields.”

For updates on Clemson beef cattle and forage research projects, a series of monthly meetings this summer will be held at the Simpson Beef Cattle Farm near Pendleton, Andrae says. Topics will include: impacts of toxic tall fescue on cow-calf reproduction (June 26), impacts of forage species and corn supplementation on forage-finished beef production (July 24), an overview of K-Line irrigation systems for pasture and hayfield management (Aug. 22) and how residual feed intake is being utilized in Clemson’s bull test program (Sept. 18). Specific location information will be posted at Clemson’s livestock and forages Web site as meeting dates approach.

For more information, contact Andrae at 864-656-3504 or jandrae@clemson.edu.