Forage growers in the Southwest will have access to important industry information at the 2022 Southwest Hay & Forage Conference, which returns after a year hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The conference will take place Jan. 27-28 at the Ruidoso Convention Center, 111 Sierra Blanca Dr. in Ruidoso, New Mexico. The event is hosted by New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, and the New Mexico Hay Association.
Mark Marsalis, NMSU Extension forage specialist, said the conference addresses common issues that growers face daily, including baling challenges, high input costs, water management and pest control.
Participants will also have the opportunity to speak directly to consultants, industry representatives, researchers and specialists.
The 2022 conference will feature three presentations on the challenges of baling moisture. Paul Brown of the University of Arizona will share the outcomes of years of research on hay windrow humidity and harvest management for dry western conditions. Wayne Coblentz, a retired research dairy scientist for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, will discuss utilizing baleage as an alternative to dry hay during periods of high rainfall. And Mackay Ashdown of Staheli West will showcase a preview of the new small bale steamer, a highly sought-after alternative to the company’s large steamers for small bale producers as a method for leaf retention and expanded baling windows.
Additional presentations will address high fertilizer prices, Marsalis said.
“Now more than ever, growers need to be thinking about maximizing the benefit of every unit of fertilizer applied and improving efficiency on their farms,” Marsalis said.
Fertilizer-related presentations will include:
- Best practices for accurate fertilizer application by Blaine Ginther of Surefire Ag Systems.
- Navigating the waters of high fertilizer prices by Derek Davidson of SCALE Ag Services.
Pest control is also an important topic among growers, and will be addressed during several presentations at the 2022 conference.
“Each year, various pests in the form of insects, weeds and vertebrate pests cost New Mexico hay growers millions of dollars,” Marsalis said. “It is important that growers understand the pests they are dealing with, and the management options available to them.”
Pest-related continuing education unit-qualifying presentations will include:
- Surfactants, adjuvants and water quality effects by NMSU Extension Weed Specialist Leslie Beck.
- Weed control in alfalfa by Thomas Getts of the University of California Extension.
- Pesticide and regulatory update by Steve Baca of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.
- Biocontrol of the white-fringed beetle by Elson Shields of Cornell University.
- Insect resistance and alfalfa weevil management by Logan McGarrah of Corteva Agriscience.
Other presentations include dairy industry status and feed outlook by NMSU Dairy Specialist Robert Hagevoort, cover crops in corn rotations by NMSU Agronomist Rajan Ghimire, and a legislative update by Chad Smith of the New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau.
The two-day conference will also feature a machinery trade show. During the trade show and industry updates portions of the conference, participants will hear from ag-industry representatives on the latest chemical, seed, equipment and other products available.
Comedian Bob Stromberg will provide entertainment following the conference’s social hour and dinner Jan. 27. Also, the special spouses’ interest session, “Painting with Peggy Krantz,” returns this year and is available for $30 a person.
Five New Mexico pesticide continuing education units have been requested for this meeting. Continuing education units for Texas and Arizona have been requested, as well as Certified Crop Advisor credits.
Pre-registration is $125 a person before Dec. 31. Attendees may register at the door for $150. Annual membership dues to the New Mexico Hay Association are $55.