WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue Extension will co-host a June
21 field day to teach forage growers and livestock producers about multiple uses
Indiana Forage Day, also co-hosted by the Miami County Soil
and Water Conservation District and the Indiana Forage Council, runs from 9 a.m.
to 4 p.m. It will include tours of three diverse farms and a field demonstration
site where warm-season grasses are being grown for bioenergy.
“Indiana Forage Day this year is going to look at the
multiple features and opportunities of forage crops,” said Keith Johnson, Purdue
Extension forage specialist. “I think one of the interesting things about the
event this year is just realizing that forages are great in terms of soil
“We can grow them on marginal soils where corn and soybean
production are less able to be profitable. That, and the multifaceted ways that
we can use them by grazing animals, harvesting and then feeding the crop, and
then, futuristically, looking at them as an energy source in our day-to-day
Forage day participants will meet at Walk by Faith Community
Church, 515 S. Chippewa St., Roann. Transportation to the farms will be
* Flack Farms — This farm has specialized in cash-crop hay
for the last 15 years. Farm owners will discuss the production and marketing of
hay. They also will demonstrate the use of a new system that converts large,
round bales to small, square bales;
* Stoltzfus Dairy — This dairy farm is unique in that it is
a pasture-based grazing system. Farm owners will discuss the transition from
harvesting forages to letting cows graze; and
* Jeremy Sweeten Farm — The Sweeten farm specializes in
making baleage — a process of baling forages at higher moisture content, then
converting them to silage. The farm owner will discuss management strategies for
successfully creating baleage and, weather permitting, will demonstrate the
The last stop of the day will be a bioenergy demonstration
plot that is part of Purdue’s work with the cenUSA Bioenergy project. The
project is a collaboration of seven universities that looks at growing bioenergy
grasses, such as switchgrass, on marginal land not suitable for corn and soybean
The goals of the project are to identify grasses most
suitable for bioenergy production on various soil types, and to eventually have
the infrastructure in place to convert grasses to cellulosic bioenergy, said
Chad Martin, Purdue Extension bioenergy specialist.
“It really boils down to the fact that we have a renewable
fuel standard that dictates that we need to look at cellulosic resources for
biofuels,” he said.
“When that day comes when we need to actually start
producing, harvesting and marketing this material, we anticipate a case where we
have a whole new supply chain to evolve.
“This project is a starting point to get that process
evolved, and we are working on multiple sections of the supply chain. We’re
looking at the production phase here at Purdue, as well as the conversion
The cenUSA project is funded through grants by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Other involved universities are Iowa State University and
the universities of Illinois-Champaign, Minnesota-Twin Cities, Nebraska-Lincoln,
Vermont-Burlington and Wisconsin-Madison. Also involved in the research phase is
USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.
The fee to attend Indiana Forage Day is $10 per person, with
chartered bus transportation and lunch included. Registration is required by
June 18 by contacting Lisa Green at (765) 494-4783 or email@example.com.
Checks can be made payable to the Indiana Forage Council and
mailed to Indiana Forage Council Inc., 915 W. State St., West Lafayette, IN
47907-2054. Checks also can be brought to the event, but participants must have
registered in advance.
More information about the event is available on the Indiana
Forage Council homepage at www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/forages/IFC under “Events.”