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Kickin' some grass!

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County to host prestigious forage, grassland tour

By Ben Carlson

The state’s spotlight will shine on Anderson County this week as farmers from across Kentucky converge here to discuss and view forage and grassland.

The Kentucky Forage and Grassland Council Field Day is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 3 from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Buddy Smith’s farm on 1984 Graefenburg Road.

This will mark the first time the event has been held in central Kentucky, according to Extension agriculture agent Tommy Yankey. It will feature some of the most cutting-edge forage and grassland work being done today in agriculture, he said.

“We’ve been working on this for three years, and it certainly is an honor to have this event here in Anderson County,” Yankey said.

An effort to grow gamagrass here and intersperse it with other crops led to Anderson hosting what Yankey said will be 250-plus farmers from across the state.

“There isn’t a lot of gamagrass in central Kentucky,” Yankey said. “The farmers call it ice cream grass because the cattle really do enjoy grazing on it.”

Gamagrass is expensive to start, and takes two years to become well established in the field. Yankey said it costs about $90 an acre to plant, but will provide forage for 20 to 30 years and help get farmers through their summer slump when the fescue grass slows down.

While the grass itself is somewhat unique, Yankey said Smith and other farmers are breaking new ground by planting it with other crops. He said Smith has it planted between rows of corn he doesn’t intend to harvest, content instead to let his cows graze on it and later the gamagrass, once it’s established.

He said he has worked with Smith to plant red clover and turnips among the gamagrass, too.

The event will feature wagon rides to numerous locations across Smith’s farm, including the chance to view alfalfa and orchardgrass hay production, field corn planted for grazing in the fall and winter, renovating fescue pastures, watering systems for rotational grazing, and balancing nutrition requirements when grazing field corn.

After the event, those attending will be treated to a rib-eye steak supper, sponsored by the Anderson County Cattlemen’s Association.

The tour and supper are free, and the event is open to the public.

E-mail Ben Carlson at bcarlson@theandersonnews.com.