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Story in Brief

In northwest Georgia, beef, horses and hay production make up a large portion of the agriculture industry. Changes in climate such as very wet springs and droughty summers have reduced forage stands and increased weed populations, while fuel and fertilizer costs have also influenced producer profits. Murray County Extension collaborated with the UGA Extension Forage team to host a UGA Grass Master’s program in October, 2019, for the northwest Georgia region. The class format was offered as a seven-week series, each evening program having a different forage focus. Program topics included Introduction to Forages, Fertilization of Perennial Grasses, Hay Production and Management, Understanding Forage Quality, Pest Management Strategies, Grazing Management and Planning, and Improving Soil Health and NRCS Programs. Pesticide continuing education credits were offered for the Pest Management Strategies portion of the series. A follow-up survey was sent to members in July of 2020 to evaluate whether they actually made any changes and how they worked. They were asked to list one or more practices they learned and implemented on the farm. Responses listed soil testing, rotational grazing, cross fencing, weed control, hay testing and storage, cut hay earlier in growth stage and proper fertilization practices. All respondents said they saved time, money and frustration as a result of what they learned.