Kentucky’s quality forage base affords many opportunities for goat and sheep producers when it comes to grazing pastures. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture reported that goat numbers continue to rise in the state, and while sheep numbers have decreased, they are still 50 percent higher than in 2008. New and established producers can benefit from educational opportunities at the upcoming annual Kentucky Small Ruminant Grazing Conference.
The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is teaming up with Kentucky State University, the Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office, the Kentucky Goat Producers Association and the Kentucky Sheep and Wool Producers Association to offer the 2016 conference Feb. 6 at the Boyd County Fairgrounds in Ashland.
“We have some great speakers lined up and, of course, the popular producer panel,” said Tom Keene, interim director of the UK Robinson Center for Appalachian Resource Sustainability in Quicksand. “The focus this year is on the eastern third of the state; each year we move the conference around to try and reach the most people. We will offer science-based research that producers can apply in their own operations.”
The daylong event begins with a welcome at 8:30 a.m. EST, followed by an economics and marketing update at 8:40 a.m. Sessions focusing on forage management and parasite management begin at 9:15 a.m.
· Getting the most out of small ruminant pastures
· Isoflavones as a hidden benefit of clovers
· Stomach worms
· Co-grazing small ruminants with other species
After lunch, David Kessler, Marion County extension agent for agriculture and natural resources, will facilitate a producer panel focused on forage systems. Panel participants include Dennis Billups, Sherman Berry, Glen Woolum and Kelly Ruggles.
The regular meeting will adjourn at 2:30 p.m. Participants may stay and attend an optional FAMACHA training at 2:45 p.m. FAMACHA is a program designed to help producers of small ruminants diagnose parasite infection.
Preregistration, due Jan. 25, is $30 for the conference and an additional $18 for the FAMACHA training. More information and registration are available at http://www2.ca.uky.edu/rcars/Small%20Ruminant%20Grazing%20Conference%202016.pdf.
Those planning to attend the conference should send name, address, phone number and email address along with payment to UK Robinson Center for Appalachian Resource Sustainability, attn. Jackie Allen, 130 Robinson Road, Jackson, KY 41339. To pay with credit card, contact Allen via phone at 606-666-2438, ext. 291. You can call the Grayson County Extension Office for more information at (270) 259-3492 or stop by to pick up the registration form.