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New Mexico State University


WARNING: SORGUM/SUDAN/JOHNSON GRASS HARMFUL TO HORSES. There is a hay shortage and people are being forced to seek out alternatives. But, please beware that not all alternatives are safe. Dr Jason Turner, NMSU Horse Specialist, has the following words of caution:

"I know that hay supplies are tight, but I would still caution horse owners against feeding sorghum/sudan hay to horses. The primary concern in horses is related to the potential for a neurological condition caused by lathyrogen compounds that can be present in the growing forage and hay. As is often the case with the horse, there is little definitive research on this issue to give us a complete picture. I have consulted Dr. Mark Marsalis, our extension specialist in the sorghum area, to get his input from the plant side of things. After our discussion, I found an internet publication in the popular press that is authored by a veterinary toxicologist at the University of Kentucky that concisely addresses the highlights of this issue. I have attached it as a pdf (see below) for your reference, and I have also attached an excellent publication from the Colorado State University Extension Service that discusses alternative feedstuffs and feeding recommendations for horses when hay supplies run short. I am also pasting a link below to the May/June 2011 issue of the BRAND NEWs newsletter that discusses the hay shortage topic."

Bernalillo County Extension Agriculture Program

Bernalillo County has approximately 7000 acres of irrigated land as well as privately and publicly owned rangeland used for agricultural production. In order for farmers and ranchers to remain on the land they must adopt practices that help them increase their economic viability. Producers look to Extension Service personnel and their educational programs for guidance, information, and technical support as they plan and implement their agricultural enterprises. Educational programs, on farm research and demonstration, and personal consultation are available in the following areas:

Crop production - includes urban farming, traditional row and field crop production, high value vegetable and fruit production, forage and pasture management, and organic production methods. The following topics are available within each of the subjects above:

  • Season Extension

  • Variety Selection

  • Soils and Fertility

  • Pest Management

  • Harvesting and Planting

  • Irrigation

Livestock Production - includes cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry, and horses.

  • Nutrition

  • Health

  • Facilities

  • Management

  • Production

  • Handling and/or Training

Integrated Pest Management - the evaluation and incorporation of all available techniques (old and new, low tech and high tech) into a unified program to identify and manage pest populations to minimize damage and adverse effects on the environment. Programs include:

  • Insect and Weed Identification

  • Pesticide Applicator Training including continuing education units

  • Traditional and organic pest control recommendations

Agricultural Entrepreneurship and Business Planning

  • Record Keeping

  • Finance

  • Marketing

  • Value Added

Please join us April 11 for the SWCRS Rancher’s Roundtable on Wildlife Habitat, Nutrition and Harvest at 10 am.

We have an excellent panel scheduled that should be greatly interactive and beneficial to one and all. Panel includes:

Mike Hobbs (General Manager, Express UU Bar Ranch) Jim Lane (Director, NM Game and Fish) Sam Smallidge (Extension Wildlife Specialist) Larry Varner (Deer Nutritionist, Purina Mills) Moderator: Eric Scholljegerdes (Ruminant Nutritionist)

Please feel to contact me with any questions or visit our website at Also, for timely reminders and updates, join us on Facebook at Have a great day, Shad.

Organic Agriculture & Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

New Mexico Organic Farming Conference

Please join us at the New Mexico Organic Farming Conference on Friday, February 15th and Saturday, February 16th 2013. Brought to you by New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension, Farm to Table, and New Mexico Department of Agriculture.