Twilight tours featuring tips on managing native grasses for forage production will be offered at various University of Tennessee (UT) AgResearch Centers across the state in May and June. Presented by the UT Center for Native Grasslands Management, the tours will focus on using native grasses such as big bluestem, switchgrass and eastern gamagrass in livestock forage programs.
“These highly drought-tolerant, long-lasting, low-input, warm-season perennials can produce high yields of hay and excellent animal performance when grazed during the summer,” says Pat Keyser, the center’s director. “Yields can measure from 4 to 6 tons per acre and steers can gain an average 1.1-2.6 lbs daily when grazing these grasses.”
Ongoing grazing trials will be visited during each tour and the latest results made available. Tours at all locations will begin at 5:30 p.m. local time with a grilled steak supper. After a brief presentation, the group will tour the native grass pastures with the researchers, Extension specialists and center staff managing the grazing projects. Topics to be discussed include: establishing native grass forages; grazing management, hay production with native grasses, integrating forage and biofuel production and managing native grasses for forage and wildlife.
The dates and tour locations are as follows:
- May 24: Middle Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center, Spring Hill.
- May 26: Highland Rim AgResearch and Education Center, Springfield.
- June 21: Ames Plantation AgResearch and Education Center, Grand Junction.
- June 30: UT AgResearch and Education Center at Greeneville.
There is no cost to attend a tour, but participants must register two weeks prior to the scheduled tour date. To register, go to nativegrasses.utk.edu/, and click on the link for Forage Tours. Or email your name, affiliation (producer, business or agency name), and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 865-974-7346 and provide that same information. You may register multiple individuals, but please provide the requested information for each.