There isn’t much hay carryover coming in to this season in Arkansas, says John Jennings, University of Arkansas extension forage specialist. “The long, cold winter means pastures are getting a late start and are just starting to grow now,” he adds.

As with many other parts of the country, the state’s hay growers are struggling with high fertilizer costs and fuel prices. “The hay crop could potentially be short this year due to people not fertilizing as much,” Jennings says. He notes management is going to be hay producers’ biggest asset as they deal with fertilizer costs. Soil testing will be crucial to help producers target fields where fertilizer can have the biggest impact.

“Soil testing can also indicate which fields may have the fertility to grow clovers and other legumes that can be planted in the fall to provide nitrogen-fixation benefits,” Jennings states. He urges growers to target fertilizer application to provide just enough for each phase of production.

Contact Jennings at 501-671-2350.