Crop Hour series to conclude with focus on forages

South Dakota State University Extension
Farm Forum

BROOKINGS, S.D. — Forages are the foundation to many livestock feeding systems, providing nutrients, energy, protein, digestibility, fiber, minerals, vitamins and more. Having good quality forage in the ration is often reflective in animal performance and for some production systems that correlates to more milk in the bucket, more pounds on the scale or more calves on the ground.

While forage quality can have a significant impact on net profit for livestock operations, SDSU Extension Agronomy Field Specialist Sara Bauder says forage management often takes a backseat to row crop production.

“South Dakota is one of the top forage-producing states in the country, however forage research and management are often undervalued,” says Bauder. “That’s why we have devoted an entire week to forages in our Crop Hour series, to discuss pest management in range and alfalfa, forage soil fertility, round bale storage and hay stocks and market outlooks. These topics can be great reminders and updates for the well-seasoned forage producer, or a great place to start for someone just getting familiar with range or alfalfa production in South Dakota.”

The SDSU Extension Crop Hour Forages Week is slated for February 23-26 from 10 to 11 a.m. CST each day and will cover the following topics:

  • Feb. 23: “Noxious Weed Control in Pasture/Range” and “Weed Control in Alfalfa Establishment,” Paul Johnson, SDSU Extension weed science coordinator.
  • Feb. 24: “Alternative Weed Control in Pasture/Range,” Gared Shaffer, SDSU Extension weeds field specialist; “Range Management,” Krista Ehlert, assistant professor and SDSU Extension range specialist.
  • Feb. 25: “Alfalfa Insect Pests,” Patrick Wagner, SDSU Extension entomology field specialist and Adam Varenhorst, assistant professor and SDSU Extension field crop entomologist; “Identifying Alfalfa Diseases,” Emmanuel Byamukama, associate professor and SDSU Extension plant pathologist and Connie Strunk, SDSU Extension plant pathology field specialist; “Forages and Soil Fertility,” Anthony Bly, SDSU Extension soils field specialist.
  • Feb. 26: “Round Bale Storage Conservation,” Sara Bauder, SDSU Extension; “Hay Stocks and Market Outlook,” Jack Davis, SDSU Extension crops business management field specialist.

“South Dakota offers a wide variety of opportunities within forage production and we hope to help producers improve their operations as a result of this week’s webinar topic,” Bauder says.

Each week SDSU Extension’s Crop Hour will cover a different area of agronomic production, from field crops and forages to water and weather. The webinar series began Jan. 5 and will conclude March 26.

There is no fee to attend but participants will need to register for the weekly webinars on the SDSU Extension Crops page. Confirmation Zoom links and reminders will be emailed to attendees.

Educational credits will be available for certified crop advisers for each session.

For more information about the webinar series and to view the weekly topics and speakers, visit the Crops page on the SDSU Extension site at

During Forages Week, SDSU Extension experts will discuss best practices for pest management in range and alfalfa, how to improve soil fertility and conserve round bale storage as well as the market outlook and hay stocks.