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Rugby to Host 2015 Master Gardener Course

By Staff | Aug 7, 2015

Gardening and horticulture information continues to be a popular programming request in NDSU Extension Service county offices across the state. I’m pleased to announce that Rugby will again be among this year’s classroom host sites! We will meet in the community meeting room (to the right of the Extension office) in the lower level of the Pierce County Courthouse.

Master Gardener training will run for 10 weeks on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (central time) beginning on Oct. 2 and ending on Dec. 11 (no class the Friday following Thanksgiving).

Master Gardener training is convenient and flexible. The course will again be offered both online and in a traditional classroom setting. This way, if weekday morning classes conflict with your schedule, online lectures can be viewed later in the comfort of your home on your own schedule. For those that prefer traditional learning, classroom training will be hosted in the following counties: Cass, Dickey, Stutsman, Kidder, Burleigh, Griggs, Grand Forks, Pierce, Ward and Williams. All classrooms will be connected using Blackboard Collaborate as our videoconferencing technology. Alternatively, participants may take the class online. All lectures will be recorded and posted on our content management site.

Tuition for the 2015 class is $150 for Master Gardener volunteers (agree to volunteer 48 hours over two years) or $400 for Pro-Hort participants (no volunteering required). Computer knowledge, internet access and an email account are required.

Course topics will include annual and perennial flowers, tree selection and maintenance, soil health, composting, fertilizers, plant diseases and pests, vegetable and fruit production and so much more. Classes are taught by NDSU faculty and by Extension personnel.

Once training is completed, interns will volunteer 48 hours over two years on horticultural projects in their home counties before earning the title of Master Gardener. Projects include answering questions at county fairs and farmers markets, organizing horticultural workshops, and managing school and community gardens, among other tasks.

Class size is limited and filled on a first-come, first-served basis. The registration deadline is Sept. 11. Registration is completed online at: www.ag.ndsu.edu/mastergardener/. For more information, contact your local NDSU County Extension office or Esther McGinnis at 231-7406

(SUB.) What is the Price of New Hay?

While hay is not traded in daily and open markets, as are other commodities such as cattle and grains, price levels and movements are still of interest to many. Cattle feeders who purchase most of their feedstuffs, cow-calf producers who are having a short hay crop and looking to buy or have excess hay for sale, landowners who rent out hay ground on shares, and farmers with damaged crops (such as by hail) who are negotiating with stockmen to salvage hay all are looking for information on what hay is worth and its market value.

The price of hay is prone to highs and lows primarily associated with available supplies, needs and demand, and the cost of alternatives such as grain or byproduct values. For the most part, the state’s hay crop is good, although showers and humid weather have delayed the harvest and made it difficult.

Of course, the state has pockets of excessive rain and limited rain on shallow and poor soils, which is contributing to some spot shortages in a particular location. Also, some severe forage shortages in western Canada and portions of Montana have the potential to create demand and increase the price where transportation is feasible.

Under current grain prices, a unit of total digestible nutrients (TDN, or energy) is available at about 8 cents per pound and protein through processing byproducts is about 25 cents per pound as alternatives to hay. For beef cattle use, this suggests a $65 to $95 value for hay, depending on quality. May survey information on hay prices by the National Agricultural Statistics Service reported alfalfa in North Dakota trading at $86 per ton and other hay at an average of $56 per ton.

Premiums are associated with dairy quality, clean horse hay and packaging (large or small squares). Additional hay price information is posted in trade publications, which often are representing hay auctions with regular sales in nearby states such as Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa.

The 2014 state averages report of the North Dakota Farm and Ranch Business Management program puts the cost to produce hay on cash-rented land at about $65 per ton, including labor and management, with an average yield of two tons per acre for alfalfa and 1.2 tons per acre for grass hay.

Source: John Dhuyvetter, NDSU Area Extension Livestock Systems Specialist

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