Gary Wilson from Jenera, Ohio, has been active in the forage industry as a producer, extension agent and educator, and has sat on many forage-related organizational boards. His forage involvement has spanned a lifetime.
Wilson, a seventh-generation producer, is presently in retirement and has fewer animals than years past, but still maintains an adequate supply of stored forages to supplement when his livestock is not in pasture. Wilson’s livestock is generally pastured from April 15 to Nov. 15. Wilson is located in an area that became predominantly a wheat growing area over the last 10 years. Therefore, Wilson has been planting summer annuals such as BMR sorghum-sudan or oats, and then wrapping big bales to feed his cattle and ewes.
Wilson says, “My target market for my hay is first my own needs, but I have always have had extra to move to other places for other needs. I have always had excellent demand without trying very hard to obtain it.”
Wilson enjoys a pasture mix of late orchardgrass, soft-leaf endophyte-free fescue, festulolium and white clover. Italian ryegrass is planted with the mix to help with establishment. Wilson says, “My goal is to maintain high-quality pastures using rotation to prevent under or overgrazing. I will on occasion clip off seed heads in the spring if it gets around me and will quickly utilize summer annuals or stored forage if pastures can't keep up in the summer.”
Of his forage career, Wilson says, “It is highly beneficial and rewarding to get involved with forage organizations. It doesn't matter if you are feeding or selling forages, it will still help a person to be involved. I have had hundreds of forage-related questions throughout my lifetime of work with forages, and I have learned more from forage organizations and the resulting relationships than any other source. There are never two years alike, and one can never beat experience when it comes to forage management that one learns by getting to know all the successful people presently involved in this industry.”
Wilson is proud to be supporting National Forage Week as part of his involvement with the American Forage and Grassland Council, as a member of the Ohio Forage and Grassland Council, and as a producer who knows the importance of quality forages.
To find out more about National Forage Week, go to the American Forage and Grassland Council website and learn how you can participate. FG
Hear from Wilson himself in the video below:
- Progressive Forage Grower
- Email Lynn Jaynes
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