If you say “plain old grass” to anyone in the forage business, we have a tendency to get a little sensitive. For us, there’s no such thing as “plain old grass”. Every grass, forb and legume has a purpose, a value and a need. And the more you do this sort of work, the more questions you have and the more you realize you don’t know. Hence the winter conference season, where forage producers get together and talk about a lot of the stuff that they wish they knew more about. We’re constantly learning about the interconnection between soil, pastures, our cattle and human health. And since mid-winter is our “slow” time, we try to cram all that learning into the months of January and February – between Christmas and the Spring Flush. Last week was the American Forage and Council’s annual conference, in Memphis. I was fortunate enough to attend, and I have lots of pictures of the backs of people’s heads, with Power Point images in the background, but I’ll spare you. Unless you really want me to go into detail about, say, the BMR – brown mid-rib – trait in sorghum grasses. I can do that if you like, but you’re probably not that interested. The next big one for us is the Virginia Forage and Grassland Council Winter Conference Series, where our focus this year is soil health. For most of us, the idea of soil health isn’t new at all, but advances in testing and measuring are introducing us to a new world that we knew existed, but let’s face it, it’s pretty small and hard to see. There are constant discoveries being made about the universe of organisms beneath our feet. They sort of serve to remind us one again, that the more questions we ask, the more we realize we don’t know.
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