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Ragan and Massey Forage and Food Plot Talk

Timmy Benton introduces the speaker from Ragan and Massey.

The products of a seed and fertilizer company based in Louisiana are present in Walterboro at Benton’s Feed and Seed Store. Steven Meadows is a salesman for Ragan and Massey who resides in York, South Carolina. On Monday, September 30 Meadows addressed local planters and cattlemen at the Walterboro Farmer’s Market. Clemson Extension’s Marion Barnes followed up with a talk about the components of soil, and how soil information is critical for maximizing forage growth.
A packed house of attendees gathered at 6:30 p.m. to enjoy fellowship, a meal, and to swap stories about just how hot and how dry the weather has been in September, which greatly hinders plans to plant any seed. Host Timmy Benton gave the invocation and then everyone enjoyed eating dinner from a large metal pot filled with chicken bog. The main course was rounded out with a pot of green beans with sides of sweet tea and banana pudding served with a smile by Sandra and Michelle Benton.
Just as Meadows stepped in front of the room to speak and give a slideshow presentation, a forecasted 20-percent chance of rain came to fruition outside. A crack of thunder was soon followed by pouring rain that pounded the roof of the Farmer’s Market so loud that it suddenly hard to hear the speaker. A collection of muted cheers and spontaneous relief washed across the room as the hard rain brought promise to everyone in the room that their own piece of turf in Colleton County would also be receiving some much-needed rain.
The mission of Ragan and Massey seed company is to bring the best forages in terms of yields and profits to cattlemen. They are committed to using the latest and best varieties available from both university studies and private plant breeders. Part of the presentation by Meadow’s were slides with line graphs documenting how the products they are backing outperform others during growing tests. Prine is a tetraploid annual ryegrass they recommend, and Meadows went over the advantages of this plant versus a diploid, or two-leaf grass.
“Our RAM forage oats are from Louisianan State University, and are very heat tolerant so that they can be planted earlier than other varieties,” said Meadows. “I recommend planting a blend of Prine and RAM around mid to late-September in order to get 4 to 6-weeks longer of grazing for your cattle. The best part of this equation is that you get two plantings for the same one-time fertilizer bill. For clover enthusiasts, I recommend our Red Ace clover that is out of Auburn University.”
“We offer the Plotspike Forage Complete blend for our hunting enthusiasts,” said Meadows. “It is a mix of annuals and perennials and our 40-pound bag product will plant a one-acre food plot. The ingredients are Austrian winter peas, Pembroke wheat, LA99016 Oat, Wrens Abruzzi rye, Trigger chicory, Boston plantain, Red Ace clover, and Dwarf Essex rape. I recommend the RM43 weed preventer product as a great way to control any competition in your food plots.”
Longtime Clemson Extension representative Marion Barnes was next to speak, and he shared that it is so dry at his home place that two food plots were now dead. “I sure hope that the entire county gets an inch of rain or more from the storm cell we heard pass over,” said Barnes. “Did you know that soil testing is the best money spent on any food plot? Soil sampling is like checking the fuel gauge in your truck before taking a trip.” Soil samples through Clemson University cost $6, so that’s a lot less than filling up the truck too.
“Row crop farmers have become fond of planting with the No-Till system because it allows the ground cover to keep more moisture in the soil,” said Barnes. “Using No-Till in food plots for wildlife is new thinking but I can report more folks are willing to try it now because of our hotter and drier fall weather. It takes a bit of trial and error to figure out what works. I hear of food plots failing in what used to be logging decks, and more often than not that soil is compressed and soil compaction can cause issues with plants trying to grow roots to reach moisture.”
Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at LowcountryOutdoors.com

Jeff Dennis

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (374 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com