By Clint Thompson
The annual Georgia Forages Conference will have a virtual look this year. On Tuesday, May 26, the conference will be held Live on Facebook and will feature pre-recorded video discussions with speakers about important topics like the bermudagrass stem maggot and alfalfa baleage production.
The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. and be held through the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association Facebook page.
Lisa Baxter, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension forage agronomist, says it was still important to share updates from some of the research projects. This despite the fact the meeting couldn’t be held in person due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“The goal for this year’s conference is to highlight funding for some of the major research projects that the beef checkoff has funded through the Georgia Beef Commission grants. The referendum is going back up for a vote this year. We want to make people aware what exactly that money has done in the past,” Baxter said. “But to know that money is making a difference in the state of Georgia for our forage and beef producers.”
The conference will last approximately an hour to an hour and a half and feature short 3 to 5-minute videos from industry experts. The videos will be shown in a Facebook Live format. Baxter will be part of the “watch party” and will answer any questions.
She has been fielding a lot of calls recently from producers as to why their bermudagrass is brown. Baxter has been receiving 5 to 10 calls per day, starting two weeks ago. She believes a “perfect storm” of factors have impacted growers this year.
“What’s hurting people this year is we came out of a drought and everybody beat their hayfields up last year. Nobody fertilized like they should have going into winter. Then we had crazy weather this spring where we were going from 90 (degrees) to near freezing back to 90 (degrees),” Baxter said. “It’s kind of created a perfect storm to where we had bermudagrass samples come in with frost damage, stem maggot damage and leaf spot damage, which we normally see leaf spot in the fall and not the spring.
“It’s still not enough stem maggot damage even out in South Georgia that we should be spraying for it. Having so much stress on the grass, they’re hitting there first and it’s making it more noticeable.”