University of Kentucky Event to Emphasize Equine Issues

The University of Kentucky (UK) College of Agriculture will host a field day titled, "Agriculture in a New Bioeconomy," at 2 p.m. Thursday, June 12 at Spindletop Research Farm. The event will raise awareness about issues local producers and landowners are currently facing. This event is free and open to the public.

"Every four years, the plant and soil science department hosts a field day at UK's research farm north of Lexington. Our goal is to highlight research across a range of topics, and this year we are incorporating a special emphasis on equine research and horse pasture management," said Ray Smith, associate professor and forage extension specialist.

Smith heads up UK's pasture evaluation program, a fee-based program that evaluates horse pastures around central Kentucky and provides detailed recommendations on how to maximize pasture production and use.

"The focus of the afternoon workshops is practical, hands-on learning. For example, during the pasture evaluation workshop, we will show you how to evaluate the status of your pasture and provide tips on pasture renovation and weed control," Smith said. "We will also highlight how to build controlled stream crossings in horse pastures and practical methods for erosion control."

Topics on the tour include horse nutrition research, variety testing for horse pastures, establishment of riparian zones on horse farms, mare and foal research, bermudagrass for summer pasture and grazing horses on small acreage.
Along with workshops and clinics, the field day will host tours specific to interests in tobacco, equine, pest management and forage issues. The afternoon will kick off at 2 p.m. with registration and open exhibits. There will be two hour-long sessions of workshops and clinics. Beginning at 3 p.m., workshops topics will include hay production; pasture evaluation for horses, setting depth for tobacco transplanters, corn growth and development and invasive woody plant control methods. The next group of workshops, which begin at 4:30 p.m., cover hay production, pasture evaluation for horses, assessing soil productivity for crops, weed identification and resistant weeds, and organic grain crop production.

An evening equine tour follows the sessions at 6 p.m. The tour will highlight the majority of equine research currently being conducted within the college's department of animal and food sciences. Topics on the tour include horse nutrition research, variety testing for horse pastures, establishment of riparian zones on horse farms, mare and foal research, bermudagrass for summer pasture and grazing horses on small acreage.

Concurrent to the evening tour, two rounds of hour-long field tours will also be conducted. The first, at 6 p.m., will include segments related to forage; tobacco; wheat for grain, forage and straw production and pest management. The second, at 7 p.m., will feature segments on forage, biofuels, corn production for livestock producers, and weed control in forage crops.

The Fayette County Cattlemen's Association will be selling and serving meals from 5-7 p.m. during the tours and workshops. Before and after dinner, guests can visit the many displays and exhibits that will be set up around the area.

UK's Spindletop Research Farm is located off Iron Works Pike in Lexington. From I-75 (north of Lexington), take the Kentucky Horse Park exit (I-75 Exit 120), travel one mile past the horse park, follow the field day signs. From I-64, I-75, or New Circle Road, take the Newtown Pike exit (I-64/I-75 Exit 115) north to Iron Works Pike, turn left and follow the signs.

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