Sheep and Goat Webinar Addresses Hay Quality, Health, and Maintenance

The hay crop of 2019 in the Midwest region is reported to be among the poorest quality in years – a significant challenge to the 10,000 sheep and goat producers in Indiana and Kentucky.

To help with this, Purdue University Extension and Kentucky State University will host the 2020 Sheep and Goat Webinar on Tuesday, Jan. 28 from 7 – 9 p.m. (EST).  You can view this webinar at the Putnam County Extension Office.  To view it at the Putnam County Extension Office, call 765-653-8411 or email to register. You can also view this webinar at home at:

Approximately 25 Extension offices in Indiana and Kentucky area will be host sites for the webinar, created to help farmers identify the consequences of feeding poor quality hay, and instruction on best practices for health and maintenance in the sheep and goat industries.

Purdue’s Fulton County Extension Director, Mark Kepler said the first cutting of hay for 2019 was late, due to rainy weather. The additional weeks of maturing, he explained, increased the fiber content and decreased the protein content.

“We found the second, third, and in some cases fourth cuttings made were a much higher quality, so this made quality hay much more expensive, and harder to obtain this year,” Kepler said.

Mike Neary, Purdue University Extension sheep and goat specialist explained that animals being fed poor quality hay may lose condition and need supplemental grains and other quality feed sources.

“In the months when pasture isn’t available, good quality hay is essential to maintaining a healthy herd. This year brought many farmers a poor hay crop, and as a result, we are reaching out to help provide some tips and helpful solutions for surviving the winter months ahead,” Neary said.

He also expressed concern for future goat and sheep offspring born to mothers fed a poor hay diet, which sets up a disadvantaged start at the onset of life, resulting in poor milk quality and low birth weights.

During the webinar, Keith Johnson, Purdue University Extension Forages Specialist will address “The Problem” and the importance of testing. Richard Ehrhardt, Michigan State University Sheep and Goat Specialist will discuss “The Consequences of Feeding Poor Quality Hay” and potential feeding problems that could result, with ways to have a productive year, despite the challenges.

“We hope this webinar is helpful to those who choose to watch online, however we strongly encourage office site viewing sessions for producers and Extension Educators who can watch and discuss the webinar in a shared location,” Kepler added.

Visit our homepage at or you can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 765.653.8411 for more information regarding this week’s column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While many publications are free, some do have a fee. Purdue University is an equal access/equal opportunity institution. All times listed are Eastern Time.

Upcoming Events:

January 14 – Winter Walking Group, DePauw Indoor Track, 9AM

January 16 – Cultivating Your Farmers Market Knowledge – Night 1, 6:30 PM, Extension
Office, Cost is $20, register at

January 21 – Winter Walking Group, DePauw Indoor Track, 9AM

January 23 – Extension/SWCD Annual Meeting, Fairgrounds, purchase tickets at Extension

January 23 – Bi-State Gardening Conference, The Beef House, 5:30 pm, $25, register at

January 25 – 4-H Grows Knowledge Workshop, Cloverdale High School, Call Extension
office to RSVP.

January 28 – Sheep & Goat Webinar, Extension Office, 7:00 pm

January 30 – 4-H Volunteer and Leader Meeting, Extension Office, 6:00 pm

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