Farmers from Alabama and across the Southeast have the opportunity to hear from national leaders in forage production at the 2009 Alabama Forage Conference, being held in west Alabama.

Don Ball, a forage agronomist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, says the event will be one of the best one-day forage conferences held in the country this year.

"At this conference, livestock producers will have an excellent chance to hear the latest research and information on forages and grazing management from some of the nation's top authorities," says Ball. "For example, Susan Duckett of Clemson University will discuss the impact forages have on the meat quality of grass-fed beef."

The Dec. 10 conference will be held at the University of West Alabama in Livingston. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.

Ball says a particularly interesting speaker will be Joe Bouton, currently senior vice-president with the Noble Foundation.

"While he was at the University of Georgia, he developed a number of important forage varieties. He will be talking about opportunities with improved forage varieties."

The conference will cover diverse aspects of forages and forage production, Ball adds.

Jimmy Ray Parish, a researcher in plant and soil sciences at Mississippi State University, will talk about tall fescues of the future. John Byrd, a long-time Extension weed control specialist at Mississippi State, will offer participants insights into improved weed control in pastures.

As part of the conference, participants will be able to select from three concurrent sessions in the afternoon including one on clovers, another on equine issues and a final one targeting pest management. For example, two internationally known forage crop agronomists, Garry Lacefield from the University of Kentucky and Gerald Evers from Texas A & M University, will participate in the session on clovers. The forage conference will also feature vendor exhibits related to forage and beef cattle production.

Registration is $15 per person before Nov. 30 and $20 per person after that date. Interested producers can register for the conference by sending their names, addresses and the registration fee to Kay Holloway, 202 Funchess Hall, Auburn University, AL 36849.

Checks should be made payable to the Alabama Forage and Grassland Coalition. Lunch will be provided.

For more information, contact Ball at (334) 844-5491 or dball@aces.edu.