UT Extension

We will be offering a Master Beef Producer Class during March on Tuesday and Thursday mornings with two classes each morning. This program includes eight educational classes on beef cattle production and a graduation program. The classes will be held on March 2, 4, 9 and end with two classes and graduation on March 11. The classes will begin at 9 a.m. each morning at the Coffee County Administrative Plaza Community Meeting Room. Class topics will include: Herd Health, Forages, Forage Weed Control, Genetics, Nutrition, Marketing and Reproduction

Participants must be B.Q.A. certified in order to complete graduate as a Master Beef Producer. If you are not currently B.Q.A. certified, call our office to get an appointment to get your B.Q.A. certification during our office hours of 8:00 a.m. till 4:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday. The fee to participate in this program is $50. In order to register for our Master Beef Producer Class, you must complete an application and pay the $50 fee at our UT-TSU Extension Office-Coffee County by Thursday, February 25.

Master Beef Producers are eligible for 50% cost share, compared to 35% cost share for standard producers for genetic improvement, hay barns and livestock equipment in the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program. Also, producers who most recently completed the Master Beef Producer Program prior to 2017 will have to complete the Master Beef Producer Program again this year to continue receive the 50% cost share in the Tennessee Agriculture Enhancement Program. If you have questions, please call our UT-TSU Extension Office at 931-723-5141 or call me at 931-409-9188.

February is time to add clover to your pastures

One of the most common forage recommendations made across the Southeast is to plant clovers in grass pastures. The reason? Gary Bates, director of our University of Tennessee Beef and Forage Center, says research at the UT Institute of Agriculture has shown that seeding red and white clover in tall fescue pastures and hayfields can reduce fertilizer needs.

“The yield of a tall fescue-clover mixture will be equal to a pure tall fescue stand fertilized in spring with 60 pounds of nitrogen per acre. With the price of fertilizer, this can save a significant amount of money,” Bates says.

Our forage expert cautions that many producers experience inconsistent results when trying to establish clover stands. “Seeding rate and environmental conditions are two common reasons,” Bates said, but they are not the main problem. “One of the most common reasons for the failure of clover seed to emerge and establish is due to planting the seed too deep,” he said.

“Clover seed is very small and needs to be planted less than one-fourth of an inch deep. Using no-till drills to plant clover seed in February and March can make it difficult to control seeding depth. The drills are heavy and the ground is soft,” Bated added.  He says it is often better to broadcast the seed on top of the ground.

Here’s the procedure that Dr. Bates recommends for planting clover into a fescue pasture:

1. Fertilize according to soil test. Establishment and yield of clovers will be enhanced if the proper pH and nutrient levels are provided. Do not add nitrogen. Nitrogen will not kill clovers, but it stimulates grass growth and increases the potential of the clover being shaded out by the grass.

2. Seed 2 pounds of ladino white clover and 4 pounds of red clover per acre. With the clovers, be sure to use pre-inoculated seed, or inoculate the seed yourself.

3. Seed the mixture from February 15 to March 1. If forage stubble is 2 inches or less, broadcast the seed on top of the ground.

4. Don’t graze livestock on the newly seeded pasture until the pasture is 8 inches tall. This will allow the clovers to develop a root system that will not get pulled out of the ground by grazing.

Dr. Bates says following these simple steps will improve the quality of pastures and hayfields while at the same time reducing costs.