Year after year, the market for good hay in Michigan outstrips supply, leading to dependable prices for hay growers willing to put in the effort.
Some row crop growers see an opportunity to add a new crop to their operation, while animal producers may want to grow their own forage so they have better control over nutritional quality. However, hay is a demanding crop, and it is not for everyone. As with any other agricultural enterprise, there are many things to learn.
Michigan State University Extension has developed a new online school, Hay Production 101, to help farmers interested in learning how to grow hay. The main objective of a team of MSU Extension specialists and educators is to assist newcomers to the world of hay, but there also is value for those looking to improve an existing hay operation.
Hay Production 101 is an online course taught as eight sessions using Zoom, every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 7 to 8:30 p.m. March 2 to 25.
There will be an opportunity to ask questions and interact with instructors in each live session. Topics covered will include:
- economics and marketing
- what to grow: species, varieties and forage quality
- fertility and soil management
- field establishment and renovation
- pest management: weeds, insects and disease
- harvest management: all the steps from timing the harvest to postharvest processing and storage
The cost of the course is $85. Registration is required. Register at events.anr.msu.edu.