Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Forage Program Works Well in Alabama

One can have quality, productive pastures in December by developing winter forage program (Fig. 1). December is the time when most pastures (without cool-season forages) appear brown, and there is not much available forages for grazing animals in Alabama and other states of the Southeast USA. This situation continues until warm-season perennial forages grow back in April. Figure 2 depicts the situation of most livestock farms in the winter time. 
Figure 1. Marshall ryegrass-winter peas mixed pastures
Dec. 2012, Phenix City, AL, USA

Figure2. Warm-season forages are dormant or dead giving the brown look to
the pasture in Winter, Franklin, AL, USA.
Animals mostly depend on manual feeding at this time.
Winter forages (marshall ryegrass sole crop or mixed with one of the legumes - winter peas, hairy vetch, crimson clover, arrowleaf clover, or berseem clover) planted towards the end of September in one of the producers' farm in Phenix City, AL have grown up to the height of 8 to 12 inches when measured in the third week of December, and ready to be grazed (Fig. 1).  This situation helps producer save money on feeding costs. These winter forages will be producing throughout the spring of next year extending the grazing until the warm-season forages grow back (Fig. 3).

Figure 3. Goats grazing on crimson clover-MaxQ tall fescue mixed pasture
April 2011, Selma, AL, USA.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Publication Links

 Journal articles relevant to pasture, silvopasture, animals, and environment related study findings:

Karki, U., Y. Karki, R. Khatri, A. Tillman, S. Poudel, N. Gurung, and A. Kumi. 2018. Raising goats in the southern-pine silvopasture system: challenges and opportunities. ShareIt link:

Karki, U., Y. Karki, R. Khatri, and A. Tillman. 2018. Diurnal behavior and distribution patterns of Kiko wethers in southern-pine silvopastures during the cool-season grazing period. Agroforestry Systems. Published online April 11, 2018 - DOI: 10.1007/s10457-016-9934-y Online First -

Karki, U. and L. B. Karki. 2017. Winter forage program benefitted small-scale goat producers.  American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences, Vol. 12 Issue 2, 79-84. DOI : 10.3844/ajabssp.2017.79.84. Available online:  

Poudel, S., U. Karki, W. McElhenney, Y. Karki, A. Tillman, L. Karki, and A. Kumi. 2017. Challenges of stocking small ruminants in grazing plots with dormant browse species. Professional Agricultural Workers Journal (PAWJ), Vol. 5 (No. 1). Available online:
Karki, L.B., and U. Karki. 2017. The socioeconomic and ecological impact of cool season forage production: a case of Black Belt Counties, Alabama. Professional Agricultural Workers Journal (PAWJ), Vol. 4 (No. 2, 9). Available at:
Agroforestry research and extension education at 1890 universities and its impact in the Southeast. Agroforestry Systems. 90(5), 715-722. Published online September 7, 2016 - DOI: 10.1007/s10457-016-9934-y Online First.  
Grazing with goats changed the woodland plant-species composition during summer. Professional Agricultural Workers Journal (PAWJ), Vol. 4 (No. 1). Available online: 
Microclimatic differences between mature loblolly-pine silvopasture and open-pasture DOI:  10.1007/s10457-014-9768-4 Online First.
Plant-Community Characteristics of Bahiagrass Pasture During Conversion to Longleaf-Pine Silvopasture. Agroforestry Systems, DOI: 10.1007/s10457-012-9582-9 Online First.
Southern-pine silvopasture systems: forage characteristics, soil quality, and landscape utilization by cattle
Nitrogen source influences on forage and soil in young southern-pine silvopasture, Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 131: 70-76, doi:10.1016/j.agee.2008.09.007.
Microclimatic differences between young longleaf-pine silvopasture and open pasture. Agroforestry Systems, DOI 10.1007/s10457-012-9551-3 Online First.
Short-term soil quality response to forage species and pH. Grass and Forage Science 66: 290–299, DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2494.2011.00794.x

Landscape use by cattle in silvopasture versus open pasture. Agroforestry Systems 78: 159-168, DOI: 10.1007/s10457-009-9250-x

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Professional Agricultural Workers Conference 2012

Pre-conference events - December 1, 2012
Conference - December 2-4, 2012

Conference Venue:
Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center

Tuskegee University
1 Booker T. Washington Blvd
Tuskegee, AL 36083
(334) 727-3000

For more information about the conference, visit the conference website:

If scholarship is needed to attend the conference, one must fill the scholarship application form and send to the designated person immediately (or before the application deadline).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tuskegee University Youth Goat Show October 27, 2012

The Tuskegee University (TU) Prevet Club will hold an annual Open Goat Show at the Tuskegee University Caprine Research and Education Unit on October 27 at 1:00 PM.

The show is open to all youth exhibitors under age 19 who are residents of Alabama. Events include breeding classes, market classes and showmanship.

Entry forms must be postmarked by October 22. Entry form and more information about the goat show can be accessed by clicking this link: Entry Form and Other Information

If you have any question, please contact:
Dr. Nar Gurung, TU Prevet Club Advisor at Or call him at 334-727-8457 (Office) or 334-421-8620 (Cell).

Goat Artificial Insemination Training at Tuskegee University

Tuskegee University Cooperative Extension Program and The Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Alabama A&M University are providing a hands-on workshop entitled “Reproductive Management and Artificial Insemination (AI) in Goats” at the Tuskegee University Caprine Research and Education Unit on Saturday, October 13, 2012, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. The workshop seating is limited to 20 participants. Registration is $25 and includes lunch and all training materials. The deadline to register is Wednesday, October 10, 2012.

This training will allow goat producers to receive instruction on the reproduction of goats, including anatomy, physiology and reproductive management of does as well as the advantages and limitations of using AI. The workshop will also provide hands on training in AI techniques. Participants will learn how to use the controlled internal drug-releasing device (CIDR) that was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration to implant progesterone in goats for the purpose of synchronizing estrus.

To participate in this program, please register on time by sending the Registration Form and a check for the registration fee.

For more information or need help to register, contact the AI Workshop Program Assistant, Ms. Hooks, at (334-727-8453 or This event is supported by Southern SARE grant.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Time to Plant Cool-season Forages in Alabama

This is time to plant cool-season forages. Productive winter pastures are essential to minimize the requirements for purchased feeds (hay, commercial feeds, concentrates, etc.). Following are few tips to initiate developing winter pastures. Interested producers must have completed steps 1-5 by now. Now this is time to implement Step 6.

1. Do the soil test.

2. Control weeds.

3. Apply lime based on soil test recommendations. Generally, lime has to be applied 3-6 months prior to scheduled planting so that soil pH is adjusted by the time of planting.

4. Select forage species based on pasture soil, climatic condition of the location, and livestock species.

5. Procure selected quality forage seed from the trusted source and fertilizers based on soil test recommendations.

6. Plant selected forages on time. Most of the winter forages are planted in September or early October. Apply phosphorus and potassium fertilizer (as recommended) at the time of planting. Nitrogen fertilizer is needed only for non-leguminous crops (grasses). It should be applied in divided doses since it is the least stable fertilizer. Plants need nitrogen for photosynthesis and green leafy growth. So, its application is effective when grasses (not mixed with legumes) are in active vegetative growth (at the beginning and after each harvest).

7. Follow an appropriate grazing management once the planted forages are well established.   If you need help on which forages to plant this season, please contact your local county agents, forage specialists, or livestock specialists. Here are few examples of cool-season grasses: annual ryegrass, tall fescue (MaxQ tall fescue does not have toxic endophyte), orchard grass, small grains (wheat, oats, barley, triticale); cool-season legumes: white clover, crimsom clover, red clover, arrowleaf clover, berseen clover, hairy vetch, common vetch, bigflower vetch, winter peas, alfalfa, and birdsfoot trefoil. All legumes must be inoculated with specific inoculant just before planting while planting them in the new fields.   PLEASE POST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE: whether it was useful to you or more information is needed. Specify what more information is needed if you post comments that 'more information is needed'.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Goat Parasite Problem Worsening with Wet and Warm Weather


After a long drought, southeast US is getting some rainfall and making the pastures green. Livestock producers are happy, so are animals because of having access to something to graze on. However, there are couple of things producers need to be aware of and manage grazing properly to minimize potential parasite problem, especially gastrointestinal parasites in small ruminants such as sheep and goats (more so in goats than in sheep). Additionally, when animals are suddenly exposed to young, lush pasture, various digestive and metabolic problems may develop. To avoid this situation, animals should be gradually exposed to the lush pasture, and they should have access to a good quality hay and mineral mixture before allowed to graze the lush pasture and while in the lush pasture field. When lush pasture is wet, it will be more problematic. So, let it dry before letting the animals graze such pastures. Read the Full article and take an appropriate action on time to prevent any loss from parasites.

If you cannot access the 'Full article' link, post comment on this page.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Protect Your Herd from Johne's Disease


Emaciated cattle with Johne's disease
Johne’s disease is incurable, chronic, infectious disease of ruminants. Cattle are mostly affected, and sheep and goats are less affected. Major symptom of this disease is progressive wasting in all clinical cases although the infected animals eat normally. Shooting diarrhea (continuous or intermittent) is common in infected cattle, but only occassionally seen in sheep and goats.

How does the disease transmit?

  • Fecal contamination from the affected animals; if there is one affected animal in the herd, the environment is contaminated and there is a chance that all susceptible animals get infected
  • Colostrum and milk from infected dam
  • Dam to fetus through placenta

How soon an animal get infected?

  • Fetus gets infected before birth if the dam is infected
  • Healthy newborns born to a contaminated environment get infected within 30 days of birth from contaminated colostrum, milk, water, food, etc. 

Emaciated goat suffereing from Johne's disease

 When does the infected animal show disease symptoms?

  • This disease has a long incubation period showing clinical symptoms after two years of age and beyond
  • Disease symptoms can be commonly seen in 2-6 years age group

How do you protect your herd?

  • There is no effective treatment for this disease
  • PREVENTION is the only way to protect the herd 

 Disease Prevention

  • Buy animals only from sources with ‘Johne’s disease free’ status
  • Unknown history does not mean no disease
  • Get your herd tested for Johne’s disease
  • If positive cases are found in your herd, take the following steps: 
  1. Identify and remove the positive animals or depopulate all the herd
  2. Give at least one year of rest to the contaminated pastures as the bacteria causing this disease can survive in the environment for a year or longer
  3. Thoroughly clean all the facilities
  4. Start over with 'Johne’s-disease-free' herd after enough rest for the contaminated pastures  
  • If no positive cases found, get ‘Johne’s disease free’ status 
  • Maintain a close herd
'AL Johne's Newsletter Beef- Summer2012' presents how Johne's disease is trammitting from herd to herd. Appropriate actions need to be taken now to protect your herd from this severely wasting disease. 

Tests for Johne's Disease and Certification of Your Herd

Contact Johne's Coordinator at your state. Contact inforamtion is availalable for coordinators from all US States at this link:; click the state of your interest in the map to view the contact inforamtion for the coordinator and other Johne's contact persons in the state. Moreover, this site contains several educational articles you can take advantage of.

'Johne's Disease Newsletter, Fall 2012' - read and take necessary precautions to protect the livestock herd and the possible environmental contamination.

New - 'Johne's Disease Newsletter, Winter 2013' - discusses precautions that need to be taken while buying bulls, testing for Johne's disease, and management strategies to minimize the prevalence of Johne's disease. Take advantage of reading this newsletter and apply necessary precautions to protect your livestock. 

Updated - Jan. 11, 2013

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Save your animals from heat stress

Heat Stress in Animals

Animals need to be in a "comfort zone" to perform well. Comfort zone is a temperature range in which animals do not have to spend any energy to maintain their normal body temperature. Comfort zone differs depending on animal species, breed, and age. However, temperature ranging from 60oF to 80oF is comfortable to most of the livestock species. Environmental temperature higher than 85oF combined with high humidity is stressful to farm animals. In this kind of environment, animals try to minimize heat stress by seeking shelter, drinking cool water, wallowing in water, panting, increasing respiration rate, sweating (if they have sweat glands), minimizing feed intake, and so on. Heat stress may cause reduced animal performance, abortion in pregnant animals, and even death.

Cattle congregated under trees on a hot day, Union Springs, AL

Current situation and animal care

Currently, most part of USA is experiencing heat wave. Livestock producers have to pay particular attention to take care of their animals to minimize the loss that may occur from existing weather condition. Few tips are presented below to minimize heat stress in animals.

  • Make sure animals have access to shelter or shade all the time. Natural shade from trees have a great value to protect animals from heat and direct sunlight 
  • Provide enough cool, fresh drinking water to animals
  • Let the animals graze in the cooler portion of a day – early morning and late afternoon or evening
  • During the hot portion of a day, provide a good quality hay and other supplementary feeds as necessary under the shade if you determine that grazing on pastures during the cooler portion of a day is not going to be enough for fulfilling the nutrient demand of the animals
  • If animals are housed in a constructed structure, sprinkling water couple of times during the hot portion of a day will facilitate the evaporative cooling and minimize heat stress

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Master Goat Producer's Certification Training Program

Tuskegee University Master Goat Producer's Certification Training Program will be conducted from August 5 to 7, 2013 at Caprine Research and Education Unit of Tuskegee University. Early registration ($75) deadline is July 16 with late registration $100 thereafter. Lodging scholarships are available for the first 10 registrants (outside 60 mile radius of Tuskegee, AL). Program detail and registration form are available at this link:


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

AgriTREK/S​ciTREK and AgDiscover​y at Tuskegee University

Summer Program Opportunit​ies at Tuskegee University for High School Students - AgriTREK/S​ciTREK and AgDiscover​y

Tuskegee University to host high schoolers 14-17 years or 9th-12th grades (See program details) this summer through two residential programs - AgriTREK/SciTREK and AgDiscovery.

The program dates are June 9 - June 23,2012.

These USDA and NSF supported program provide high schoolers interested in science, technology engineering, agriculture, and mathematics an opportunity to perform find out about careers in these fields as well as participate in mini-research projects under the guidance of graduate student and faculty mentors in a variety of life and natural science fields, including biology, chemistry, animal science, plant science, soils sciences, engineering, and more!

There is NO COST to attend either of these programs; however, parents/guardians are responsible for bringing scholars to the program and retrieving them on the designated day and time. Students may be eligible to receive up to $200 to help defray the cost of transportation to the program. Scholars receive complimentary housing in a Tuskegee University dormitory as well as meals at the university cafeteria.

Visit the program website ( to find out more about the programs and to obtain the program brochures, applications, FAQs, etc. Please note that there are separate application processes for each program. Individuals are encouraged to apply to both programs to increase the probability of selection.

The application deadline is Thursday, March 15, 2012.

For additional information, please contact the Program Assistant, Ms. Marilyn Hooks at or 334-727-8453 or visit the program website indicated above.

Tuskegee University - Year-round Pasture Field Days

Sustainable Livestock Production through Year-round Pasture

Summer pasture in June 2011, Selma, AL
Ruminant-livestock production in Alabama is based on pasture. Highly productive and quality pasture persisting throughout a year or most of the year is important for sustainable livestock enterprises. Most of the livestock producers in Alabama have warm-season perennial pasture that produce from April to October and have negligible or no production from November to March, when farmers need to invest much on supplementary feedstuffs like hay, commercial feed, and agricultural byproducts to sustain their livestock. Feeding purchased feed for 5-6 months each year is not cost-effective. Therefore, every producers who are seriously involved in livestock farming must develop year-round pasture and implement appropriate grazing practice. Tuskegee University Cooperative Extension Program (TUCEP) has been providing education and technical support to livestock producers who are interested in improving their pastures and grazing practice. Following are imminent two field days on ‘Year-round pasture production and grazing/browsing management’ that livestock producers can benefit from.

 Winter pastures in January 2012, Phenix City, AL
March 24, 2012 (Saturday, 9 A.M. to 3 P.M.) - The Central Ala. Farmers Co-Op. 2519 U.S. highway 80 west Selma, Al 36701

April 7, 2012 (Saturday, 9 A.M. to 3 P.M. Central time) - 508 14th Street, Phenix City, Alabama (Russell County Extension Office Auditorium)


Major topics of the field day
  •  Soil test, lime and fertilizer application, land preparation
  • Forage selection and plantation
  • Grazing management
  • Supplementation of the grazing animals
  • Listen to the lead farmer
  • Group discussion - share your ideas
  • Demonstration and hands-on in the afternoon session
 Demonstration and hands-on topics
Visit Mr. Gregory Scott’s Farm, Selma, AL on March 24 field day, and perform the following activities:

  • Soil sample collection and make a composite sample for lab test
  • Measuring the forage height
  • Identification of different forages
  • Observation of the planting equipment
  • Take a tour of the pastures

 2. On April 7 field day, we will visit Mr. Nimrod Stephens’s farm and perform similar activities as listed for the Selma field day.

How can you participate in the field days?

Fill the Registration Form and submit it by March 10, 2012 as indicated in the form.

For more information, contact Dr. Uma Karki at; Phone:(334) 727-8336

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tuskegee University Goat Day - April 20, 2013

Tuskegee University Annual Goat Day will be held on Saturday April 20, 2013 from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm.  "Dairy Goat" is our theme for this year’s Goat Day. Morning session will be held at Patterson Hall Auditorim.  Then we will move to Caprine Research and Education Unit for lunch and afternoon sessions. If you plan to attend, please register by April 1 for the discounted registration rate of $15.00. Registration form can be downloaded from this link  - Registration Form
For more information, see the Goat-Day Flyer

If you need help, contact Dr. Nar Gurung @334-727-8457, 334-421-8620 or email:  Vendors/Exhibitors, please contact Mr. Danny Williams at 334-401-9472.

Updated March 22, 2013