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Forage basics: from the pasture to your phone

published: September 9th 2021
source: Alabama Extension

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala.— From the minds that brought you Beef Basics comes another ground-breaking online learning opportunity. Forage Basics, the newest online course from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, serves as a valuable new tool for livestock and forage producers.

The first of its kind

Forage Basics stands as the first course to provide targeted information about forage production and management in the Southeast.

Leanne Dillard, the project leader and an Alabama Extension forage specialist, said that more than 750,000 acres were harvested for hay in Alabama alone in 2020.

“Increased interest and demand from non-traditional farmers over the last 10 years led us to create Forage Basics,” Dillard said. “However, experienced producers will benefit from this course just as much as new producers will.”

Dillard said there course is free to ensure easy access for everyone.

About the course

Made possible in part by a grant from the Southern Extension Risk Management Education Group, Forage Basics puts everything from grazing management to pest control into producers’ hands.

Alabama Extension professionals from multiple disciplines within the Auburn University College of Agriculture created the 20-chapter course. Each chapter includes short videos as well as lists of important resources. Short quizzes reinforce key content from each chapter. The topics covered in the course include the following:

  • budgets
  • forage grasses
  • forage legumes and forbs
  • grazing management
  • hay production, storage and feeding
  • quality and nutritive value
  • silage and baleage production, storage and feeding
  • weed and insect management

After finishing the course, participants will receive a certificate of completion.

“Forage use and management techniques are closely tied to location,” Dillard said. “An online course focused on improving forages in the Southeast will enable producers to improve not just their forage and hay production, but their farm’s bottom line as well.”

Continuing to focus on innovation

Alabama Extension Director Mike Phillips said the course is a key element of Extension’s future livestock and forage education efforts.

“Our grassroots surveys over the years have shown that many of our livestock producers really want to access research-based information electronically,” Phillips said. “Forage Basics and our other online courses make it possible for livestock producers to learn from us on their own schedule and at their own pace.”

Learn more

To learn more about the course or to enroll, visit www.aces.edu/go/foragebasics/. More information on Forage Basics’ companion course, Beef Basics, is also available at www.aces.edu.

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