Fayette County dairy farmer Tony Snow recently hosted the semiannual Illinois Forage Expo on his farm northeast of Mulberry Grove.
Sponsored by the Illinois Forage and Grassland Council, the expo allows producers from around the state to visit other operations to see how the host farmers handle their pastures and hay fields to maximize the productivity of their herd.
Snow, who has about 150 head of milking cows, told expo participants that virtually all of his 300-acre farm is in forage production of some sort.
For the expo, he had planted several varieties of forage crops to show how they produced feed for his herd. Included were sorghum sudangrass, hybrid sudangrass, forage sorghums and pearl millet. His “intensive grazing” system involves switching the cattle from plot to plot every 12 hours.
Having the right forage varieties and grazing pastures at the right time allows the cattle to more completely digest the plant material, Snow said.
“These expos are an effort to bring farmers together to see what people like Tony Snow are doing,” said Dave Gentry, former president of the Illinois Forage and Grasslands council. “The goal is that people will take away something new or see something done in a way they haven’t seen before.”