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Southwest Hay and Forage Conference to spotlight corn, forage issues

RUIDOSO - The New Mexico Hay Association has added corn and forage issues to its usual lineup of hay topics at the Southwest Hay and Forage Conference, slated for Jan. 17-18 at the Ruidoso Convention Center.


The NMHA board of directors acknowledges the increase in corn silage production and dairy involvement in New Mexico.

"Typically, we have only addressed forages that can be wrapped in twine, but realize there is not an organized forage consortium in our state," said Doug Whitney, NMHA president. "We hope to assist farmers with education on corn production and related topics as well as hay production, since in many parts of the state, farmers focus on both in their cropping rotations."

Topics in next year's agenda include the latest in biotechnology of corn and alfalfa, maximizing production, fertilization, organic alfalfa, irrigation needs, alternative crops and nutrient and nitrate management. In addition, the forage section will feature water and fertilizer efficiency, maximizing silage production, manure utilization and a project in which biomass is converted to energy and fertilizer is produced as a byproduct.

"This is a great opportunity for New Mexico hay growers and others involved in forage production systems to come together and learn about the latest advances in several areas of interest," said Mark Marsalis, Extension agronomist at New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center at Clovis.

"This year, NMSU Extension Dairy Specialist Robert Hagevoort will give an update on the latest feeding trends among New Mexico dairies, and will bring a dairy perspective to the hay conference that has been missing for several years. This is a very important perspective for hay growers to learn about as many of them market their hay to dairies in the region."
NMSU's participation is an example of the university's continuing outreach efforts to help educate and improve the lives of people around New Mexico and the region.

The two-day conference will feature a large machinery trade show, featuring the latest in farm equipment, as well as booths with various alfalfa/forage related products, two sponsored meals, women's interest sessions involving crafts and entrepreneurships, a social hour and entertainment by cowboy poet and storyteller Justin Flowers.

"The conference is always a great opportunity for farmers to improve their vocation, as well as visit with their cross-state counterparts, and we welcome out-of-state producers and end users from all over the Southwest," said Justin Boswell, newly appointed NMHA executive director. "The addition of other forage topics hopefully will fill a void in the educational pipeline for Southwest farmers."

NM Pesticide Applicator and Certified Crop Advisor continuing education units (CEUs) have been applied for.

For more information on the Southwest Hay and Forage Conference, visit www.nmhay.com, or contact Gina Sterrett at nmhay@yahoo.com or by phone at (575) 626-5677, or Justin Boswell at (575) 840-9908 or juboswel@yahoo.com. Booth space is still available.

Marsalis also may be contacted at (575) 985-2292 or marsalis@nmsu.edu.