| In Today's eHay
April 7, 2009
Hay & Forage Grower
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Improper seeding depth is the No. 1 cause of establishment failures
in forages, according to Penn State University extension forage
specialist Marvin Hall. “If seeding depth isn’t correct, you might
as well not bother to plant,” he says.
Forage seeds have a very small supply of stored energy to support
seedlings until they emerge and begin making their own energy, Hall
notes. Seeds placed too deep are not likely to emerge.
Optimum seeding depth varies with soil type, soil moisture, time of
seeding and seedbed firmness. Generally though, it’s not more than
3/8” deep. “A rule of thumb is that 5-10% of the forages seeds
planted should be on the surface after seeding,” Hall says.
A firm seedbed will help ensure seeds are placed at proper depth. “It
is extremely difficult to accurately regulate seeding depth if the soil
is soft and fluffy,” says Hall. “On properly firmed soil, an
adult’s footprint should not be deeper than ½”. Seeds should be
covered with enough soil to provide moist conditions for germination but
not so deep that the shoot cannot reach the surface.”
Dribbling a basketball on the field is another way to determine whether
an alfalfa or grass seedbed is firm enough for planting, says Bruce
Anderson, University of Nebraska extension forage specialist. “The
ball will bounce easily on a firm seedbed,” he says. “If it
doesn’t bounce, the bed isn’t ready. Firm the seedbed with a flat
harrow, a roller or maybe even irrigate.”
Anderson notes that loose seedbeds can have up to 50% dead air space in
the seeding zone. “The first roots that emerge into that dead air
space often do not live, and your stand will suffer,” he says. “A
firm seedbed reduces the dead air space, which helps you get thicker
stands that develop more rapidly.”
Whether you’re looking for proven
performance in a package that offers exceptional value or a tractor that
gives you the latest electronic conveniences and push button simplicity,
the new T6000 Series tractors from New Holland are built for you. T6000
tractors are a natural choice for haying operations and heavy loader
work. To learn more, see your local New Holland dealer or call
If you haven’t bought into autosteer yet, this may be the year to
do so, says Todd Vogel, product specialist with Riesterer & Schnell
Inc., a Chilton, WI, dealership.
“The last couple of years, a lot of growers upgraded their machines,
most of which are equipped with steering valves and wiring harnessing
for autosteer systems. Now they’re at a point where they’re saying,
‘Let’s add some technology on and start reducing input costs,’ ”
Without being brand specific, he offers growers and custom harvesters
tips on what to consider before buying global positioning systems in the
April issue of Hay & Forage Grower. That issue, which reaches
nearly 30,000 custom harvesters nationwide, can be read online at hayandforage.com under the heading,
“Most Recent Issue.”
The issue also covers how Tennessee and Iowa farmers convert big bales
into small ones to make transporting and marketing their product more
profitable. If you want information on preserving hay, shoring up your
business costs and hiring employees, this issue, although it’s geared
toward custom harvesters, can give you some pointers.
What forage experts expect in the way of new harvesting equipment, as
well as a report by dealers on what the equipment supply may look like
this year, are other stories in this issue.
CLICK HERE to see a
listing of more stories.
Buyers in need of hay in Oklahoma and neighboring states may find
it worthwhile to check out the Noble Foundation’s online hay listing
service at www.noble.org/WebApps/WebListings/HayandPasture.
Noble ag consultant Jim Johnson, Ardmore, OK, reports that as of late
March there were 34 listings on the site with sellers primarily from
Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas. “We had quite a few new listings this
year,” says Johnson. “The listings stay on the site for six months
unless the seller requests they be removed before that time is up.”
The listing service is free to buyers and sellers. For more details,
contact Johnson at 580-224-6431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nitrogen has a job to do, and
NutriSphere-N® Nitrogen Fertilizer
Manager makes sure it gets done. By blocking unwanted enzyme
reactions and denitrification, NutriSphere-N reduces leaching and
volatilization to keep nitrogen in its more usable ammonium form.
More nitrogen efficiency means higher yield potential. Visit NutriSphere-N.com for more
The clock is ticking for members of the American Forage and
Grassland Council (AFGC) and affiliate organizations looking to enter
this year’s National Hay Show. The deadline for entries is April
Contest winners will be announced during AFGC’s annual meeting in
Grand Rapids, MI, June 21-24. To see the rules and regulations for this
year’s contest, go to www.afgc.org/mc/page.do?sitePageId=39937
or contact Tim Dietz at 517-355-2287 or email@example.com.
South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension has launched a new
blog focused on pasture and range livestock production at sdpastureandrangelivestockproduction.blogspot.com/.
SDSU extension livestock educator Rebecca Schafer, author of the blog,
hopes it provides another avenue for producers to connect across the
state. "We created the blog to serve as a way to get a better
understanding of producers' interests and programming needs," she says.
"While it is very new, we hope it will help serve pasture and range
livestock producers, giving them a chance to ask questions and get
Schafer says this blog, like all blogs, thrives due to community
involvement. "We want this platform to be a place where many share ideas
and perspectives on a wide range of topics," she says. "While I will
create content for it, we hope to have more and more producers leaving
comments or creating threads on which extension personnel can assist
them. We want the blog's content to create a more personal connection
Schafer can be contacted at 605-874-2681.
insecticide maximizes your return on investment in alfalfa with the
premier pyrethroid. Silencer® provides highly advanced chemistry for
immediate knockdown and effective control of a wide spectrum of
yield-robbing pests. Dual action activity, by contact and ingestion,
strengthens performance. Protect alfalfa from competitive insects with
long-lasting Silencer from MANA.
9 hay probes included in the National Forage
Testing Association’s Listing of Hay Probes. To see the list, along
with contact information for respective manufacturers/distributors, go
23 leading milk production states covered in
USDA’s Monthly Milk Costs Of Production report available at www.ers.usda.gov/Data/CostsAndReturns.
107 average relative forage quality (RFQ) of the 113
bermudagrass hay samples entered in this year’s Benton County, AR,
Quality Forage Program. Average relative feed value (RFV) was 91; TDN,
64%; and crude protein, 13.3%. Participants are from Arkansas, Missouri
and Oklahoma. For more information on the program, contact Benton County
extension agent Robert Seay at 479-271-1060 or Rseay@uaex.edu.
115 formal complaints about herbicide drift received
last year by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Of the total, 73
were classified as agriculture cases, 25 as lawn care and 17 as
“other,” according to a summary compiled by University of Illinois
Extension. To see the report, go to web.extension.uiuc.edu/.
$165 average per-ton price, (as of late March) of
alfalfa hay sold to dairies in the Modesto, CA, area, according to a
report in the Modesto Bee. A year ago, the average price for
alfalfa hay in the area was $261/ton.
50,000 people who attended the 2008 Minnesota Horse
Expo in St. Paul. This year’s expo takes place April 24-26 at the
Minnesota State Fairgrounds. For details, go to www.mnhorseexpo.org/.
Backing off on hay acres to accommodate a crop rotation has forced a
change in marketing strategy for 2009 at Nelson Hay Company in Hadley,
MN, reports owner Kevin Nelson. In a typical year, Nelson puts up 750
acres of alfalfa-orchardgrass and straight alfalfa in small-square and
medium-square bale packages. This year, though, he’ll plant corn on
about 130 acres as part of his rotation.
Nelson’s market: horse
owners in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. He sent out contracts to his
2008 customers in mid-March and gave them until April 10 to respond.
“I’ll use those responses to do my calculations on tonnage and then
get back to them by April 25,” he says. ”I let people know that if
they don’t meet that April 10 deadline, I’ll have to move them to
the bottom of the list and may not be able to meet all of their needs
because of the reduced acreage this year.”
As part of this
year’s contract, Nelson will hold prices at 2008 levels. “Our fuel
costs have come down from last year,” he says. “But we’re gambling
on fertilizer prices. And cash rent prices have gone up in our area. We
think we have to eat some of those additional costs to help our
customers. With the general economy the way it is, everybody is feeling
the pinch right now.”
Repeat customers are a priority for
Nelson. He makes it a point to stay in touch via an electronic
newsletter three or four times during the growing season. Currently, he
has about 350 people on his mailing list. “The toughest thing about it
is keeping the list updated,” he says. “People will change their
email addresses but won’t always notify us.”
A farm Web site
developed by his daughter, Danielle, is another component of Nelson’s
customer relations program. You can visit the site at www.nelsonhayco.com. To contact
Nelson, phone 507-836-6181.
Hay sales to horse owners in the northeastern U.S. have dropped off
significantly in recent months, due mostly to a huge supply of
average-quality hay, reports Trumansburg, NY, hay grower Steve Huber.
“Last year at this time, I had two bales left in the barn,” says the
owner of Poppycock Farm. “This year, though, we still have a lot of
hay left to sell.” In a typical year, Huber makes 30,000-32,000 small
square bales of grass-timothy and grass-alfalfa for the horse market in
New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Huber says last year’s
weather had a lot to do with creating the supply glut. “In this area,
we had a lot of rain throughout the summer,” he says. “It was good
for yields, but the quality suffered overall.”
numbers are also playing a role. “People are getting thriftier,”
says Huber, who sells primarily to racetracks and boarding stables.
“They’re not keeping as many horses as they used to.”
result, Huber says, the price for good-quality first-cutting hay has
dropped from a high of $180-190/ton in late summer-early fall to
$160/ton now. “That’s if you can move it,” he says. “We’ve
even started delivering for free locally (within a 10- to 15-mile radius
of the farm) just to clear out our inventory. That’s something we’ve
never had to do before.”
For the year ahead, Huber expects
prices to remain flat. “A lot of people are getting out of the horse
business,” he says. “And most of the dairy producers in our area are
feeding silage rather than hay. They might feed lower-quality hay to
their dry cows. But there will still be plenty of that kind of hay
around from this past year. I think the market has peaked out.”Huber
may be contacted at 607-387-5579 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension’s second-annual
Hay Production School is scheduled for April 21. The site for this
year’s event is Stuckey Auditorium at the university’s Griffin
Along with a full day of learning, the school will offer growers the
opportunity to interact with other hay growers. Presentation topics will
include hay production economics and outlook, fertilization strategies,
weed and insect management options, marketing tips, storage options and
Registration fee for the event is $75 (plus $35 for each additional
person from the same farm). An online registration form, map and
directions to the Griffin Campus and additional details are available at
April 8 -- Manitoba Forage And Grassland Strategic Workshop,
William Glesby Center, Portage la Praire, MB. For more information,
call the Manitoba Forage Council at 204-726-9393.
April 17-19 -- Midwest Horse Fair, Alliant Energy Center,
Madison, WI. Go to midwesthorsefair.com/.
April 24-26 -- 2009 Minnesota Horse Expo, Minnesota State
Fairgrounds, St. Paul. Go to www.mnhorseexpo.org/.
May 8 -- Southwest Dairy Day, Sierra Dairy, Dublin TX. Visit texasdairymatters.org or email
June 21-23 -- American Forage & Grassland Council Annual
Conference, Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, Grand Rapids, MI. Call
800-944-2342 or email email@example.com.
June 27 -- 2009 Equine Field Day, University of Kentucky’s
Maine Chance Equine Campus, Lexington. For more information, phone
859-257-2226 or go to www.ca.uky.edu/equine.
July 23 -- University Of Kentucky All Commodity Field Day, UK
Research and Education Center, Princeton, KY. Details forthcoming at www.uky.edu/Ag/Forage/.
July 29-30 -- U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center Getting More From
Forages Conference, Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center,
Madison, WI. Visit www.dfrc.ars.usda.gov/forages/Program.html
for more details.
Aug. 27 -- 2009 Arlington Agronomy And Soils Field Day,
University of Wisconsin Agricultural Research Station, Arlington.
(Agenda details will be available in early May.)
Sept. 17-19 -- National Hay Association Convention, Cadillac
Jack’s Gaming Resort, Deadwood, SD. Contact Don Kieffer at
800-707-0014 or visit www.nationalhay.org.
Sept. 29-Oct. 3 -- World Dairy Expo, Alliant Energy Center,
Madison, WI. Visit www.worlddairyexpo.com.
Nov. 10- 11 -- BEEF Quality Summit, Stoney Creek Inn, St.
Joseph, MO, hosted by BEEF magazine. Visit beefconference.com.
Nov 18-19 -- McCook Farm And Ranch Expo, Red Willow County
Fairgrounds, McCook, NE. Visit mccookfarmandranchexpo.net
or call 866-685-0989.
Feb 16-17, 2010 -- Idaho Hay And Forage Conference, Best Western
Burley Inn. Contact Glenn Shewmaker at 208-736-3608 or gshew@uidaho.
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