2016 Winter Forage Conferences to Feature Experts on Tall Fescue

Theme: Tall Fescue in the 21st Century: Understanding and Managing Tall Fescue in Grazing Systems
Gordon Groover, Extension Specialist, Ag and Applied Economics, VA Tech

Dates: January 26-29, 2016

Tall Fescue in the 21st Century is the theme for the Virginia Forage and Grassland Council (VFGC) and Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) winter forage conferences. This year’s conference highlights current knowledge and practice that producers can apply to management of their tall fescue based grazing systems. This year’s speakers are nationally recognized experts in tall fescue production and management. The morning program will focus on understanding issues and problems with tall fescue and the afternoon program will explore potential solutions to these problems.

logoMatt Booher and John Benner, extension agents in Augusta County, will set the stage for the conference by discussing results from field trials conducted in the Shenandoah Valley. The morning program will then feature Dr. Glen Aiken from USDA-Agricultural Research Service’s Forage-Animal Production Research Unit in Lexington Kentucky. Dr. Aiken will explain the impact that tall fescue infected with the toxic endophyte has on the animal and provide a research update on tall fescue toxicosis. Following the morning break, Dr. Joe Bouton, Emeritus Professor, University of Georgia and former Director of the Forage Improvement Division at the Noble Foundation, will discuss the opportunities and challenges of incorporating novel endophyte tall fescues into grazing systems.

After lunch Dr. Craig Roberts, AgBotanica, LLC and University of Missouri Extension will discuss a new genetic test for evaluating the tolerance of cattle to tall fescue toxicosis. The test, called the T-Snip, is the first commercially available genetic test that can identify cattle with improved tolerance to tall fescue. Byron Sleugh, field scientist with Dow AgroSciences, will discuss chemical seedhead suppression in tall fescue pastures as a potential component of an integrated approach to tall fescue management.

Following lunch, students from Virginia Tech will share their experiences from a two-week, multi-university traveling course that started in Texas and ended in Colorado. The objective of this course is to allow students to learn about the various components of grazing systems and how they differ in various regions of the country. The VFGC is proud to have sponsored the students from Virginia Tech.

The highlight of the conference will be producer speakers from each region of the state that will describe how they manage tall fescue on their farms. These speakers will provide an overview of their operations and share insights on how they are managing tall fescue at the farm level.

The final presentation of the day will be made by Dr. John Andrae of Clemson University. Dr Andrae is a researcher and extension specialist and co-author of Fescue Toxicosis and Management. He will help participants understand how to put all the pieces together and how to integrate what they have learned into a plan to better manage tall fescue in their grazing systems.

The daylong conference will be repeated at four locations:

  • Tuesday, January 26, 2016, Southern Piedmont AREC, Blackstone.
  • Wednesday, January 27, 2016, Wytheville Meeting Center, Wytheville
  • Thursday, January 28, 2016, Weyers Cave Community Center, Weyers Cave
  • Friday, January 29, 2016, Brandy Station Fire Department, Brandy Station

The conferences will run from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm.

To register for this conference, please visit http://vaforages.org/event/2016-vfgc-winter-coferences/. You will have the option of registering online using a credit card or downloading the conference brochure/registration form that can be filled out and sent in with a check made payable to the VFGC. The early registration fee is $35 and must be submitted online or postmarked by Jan. 4, 2016. After January 4, 2016, the registration fee increases to $50 per person. A youth registration rate is available; please contact the VFGC for details.

For more information on this conference, contact Margaret Kenny (makenny@vt.edu) at (434) 292-5331.


8:30 – 9:00 Registration
Morning Theme – Issues and Problems
9:00 – 9:30 What we have learned about Tall Fescue – Matt Booher and John Benner, Virginia Cooperative Extension
9:30 – 10:15 Tall Fescue Toxicosis: Impacts on the Animal – Glen Aiken, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Lexington Kentucky
10:15 – 10:45 Break and Visit with Sponsors
10:45 – 11:30 Novel Endophyte Tall Fescue: Opportunities and Challenges – Joe Bouton, Bouton Consulting ***Sponsored by PENNINGTON SEED***
1130 – 1200 Business Meeting and Forage Producer of the Year
12:00 – 1:00 Lunch and Visit with Sponsors
Afternoon Theme – Potential Solutions
1:00 – 1:15 Ecology of Grazinglands: Student Presentation
1:15 – 1:45 T-Snip: a Test for Tolerance to Toxicosis. – Craig Roberts, AgBotanica, LLC and University of Missouri Extension
1:45 – 2:15 Seedhead Suppression in Tall Fescue Pastures – Byron Sleugh, Dow AgroSciences
2:15 – 2:45 Producer Speaker – How I manage Tall Fescue on my farm
2:45- 3:30 Putting the Pieces Together: An Integrated Approach to Managing Tall Fescue in Grazing Systems – John Andrae, Clemson University    ***Sponsored by BARENBRUG USA***
3:30 Adjourn and surveys


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