Hay & Forage Grower
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by Rick Mooney
Editor, eHay Weekly
Hay growers and livestock producers in Western and Plains states are
bracing for a potentially severe grasshopper outbreak this summer.
“In some states, we may see the highest populations of grasshoppers
that we’ve seen in many years,” says Charles Brown, national
grasshopper suppression program manager at USDA’s Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
Based on fall 2009 APHIS surveys of adult grasshopper populations in the
17-state region covered by the APHIS program, Brown pegs Wyoming,
Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska as states most likely
to see severe outbreaks during the upcoming growing season. Utah, Idaho
and Nevada could also see significant infestations.
According to APHIS’ 2010
Rangeland Grasshopper Hazard Map, nearly 48 million acres
region-wide could see populations of 15 or more grasshoppers per square
Spring weather will play a key role in determining just how severe
outbreaks are, says Brown. “Warm temperatures, with little rainfall,
are favorable for the hatching and development of grasshoppers. On the
other hand, cool and wet conditions could limit grasshopper
USDA is currently exploring funding options for cost-sharing control
efforts on federal, state and privately owned rangelands. “We’ll do
our part to cooperate to the extent that budgets allow,” he says.
Some individual states are also taking steps to prepare for severe
grasshopper outbreaks. Wyoming has announced a $2.7 million plan to
help local pest districts and state agencies pay for spraying programs
this summer. Last year, according to surveys, populations exceeding 15
grasshoppers per square yard were found on nearly 2.9 million acres in
The southwestern, south-central and west-central regions of North Dakota
could be hot spots for grasshopper outbreaks in 2010, says North Dakota
State University Extension entomologist Janet Knodel. Producers will
want to begin scouting their rangelands in early June following the
As a guideline, she says, treatment measures generally are economically
warranted when nymph populations reach 30-45/square yard or adult
numbers reach 8-15/square yard. “It’s best to get on top of the
situation when the grasshoppers are emerging. Young grasshoppers are
easier to kill.”
Knodel adds that several pesticides are labeled for controlling
grasshoppers in hayfields and pastures in North Dakota, including Sevin,
Dimilin 2L, Malathion 57EC and Mustang Max EC. “Some of these products
require waiting one day after treating before you cut hay or allow
livestock to feed,” she says. “So you’ll want to be sure to read
Check out an APHIS
fact sheet on grasshoppers and Mormon crickets.
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
After a year and a half of organizational work, the Canadian Forage
and Grassland Association (CFGA) is up and running. “A national voice
has been a long-term goal for many of us in the forage and grassland
sector,” says Wayne Digby, executive director of the new organization.
He’s also executive director of the Manitoba Forage Council. “We
have worked long and hard to create an entity that will represent our
forage and grassland industry at home and abroad and are very pleased
with how it’s coming along.”
Developing a long-term international marketing strategy for Canadian
forages is the CFGA’s first major project. Along with working to
address barriers restricting market access – transportation costs,
currency rates, energy costs and regional fracturing – the group plans
to promote Canadian forage products through trade missions with current
and developing markets, enhancement of current trade protocols and
development of protocols for new markets. The group will also focus on
developing a hay certification/traceability program.
CFGA also plans to support forage and grassland research and adaption
trials; promote the use of forages in crop rotations and in fragile
soils; and provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, philosophies and
research findings for everyone in the industry.
Ed Shaw, owner of International Quality Forage in Calgary, Alberta, will
serve as chairman, and Ray Robertson, Ontario Forage Council manager,
will be vice chair. The board of directors will consist of
representatives from across the entire Canadian forage industry,
including provincial forage associations/councils, the forage export
sector, the livestock sector and research and Extension. Headquarters
for the association will be in Brandon, Manitoba.
For more information, contact Digby at 204-726-9393.
While most forages in pastures and hay meadows damaged by spring
flooding will likely recover, some areas eroded or covered with silt or
sand could require reseeding. Producers considering changes in forage
species as part of the reseeding program should ask the following
questions, says Steve Barnhart, Iowa State University Extension forage
- Is seed of your selected forage species and varieties
- Are the weather patterns and soil moisture conditions suitable to
provide for establishment and stand development? “If soil moisture is
not adequate and if timely rainfall for the remainder of the summer is
uncertain, it would be best to delay planting until mid- to late-August
or the first week of September,” says Barnhart. Weeds may grow on the
flood-killed areas before you can accomplish the new seeding. Mowing
closely before no-till seeding may be adequate; mowing and tilling may
be necessary for seedbed preparation in some cases. If the seeding is
delayed too late into fall, late-emerging seedlings may not have enough
time to establish sufficiently to survive the winter.
- Will weed competition be sufficiently controlled to provide for the
successful establishment and persistence of the newly introduced
- Will grazing animals be kept off newly seeded areas until new
seedlings are established?
- If the seeding activity leads to a temporary decrease in forage
production, are there sufficient forage resources to support the
existing animals until the forage improvements are realized?
|Know where to find the best alfalfa seed?
Isn’t it obvious? Syngenta alfalfa varieties deliver maximum
productivity. For your productivity solution, review your forage
objectives and performance requirements with your Garst seed advisor,
Golden Harvest dealer or NK retailer. Then select from our portfolio of
high-performance alfalfa varieties and scientifically developed
The Syngenta logo is a trademark of a Syngenta Group
Proceedings from the 30th Kentucky Alfalfa Conference, held this
past February in Cave City, are available on the University of Kentucky
Extension forage Web site and can be downloaded
Topics covered in the proceedings include advances in alfalfa seed
coatings, value of alfalfa in rotation, alfalfa varieties for the
future, growing alfalfa for wildlife, benefits of alfalfa baleage and
Next year’s conference is slated for Feb. 24 at the Fayette County
Extension office in Lexington.
“It doesn’t make sense that people are going hungry at the
same time dairy farmers are going broke." – Michael Marsh, CEO of
Western United Dairymen, commenting on prospects for a recovery in the
California dairy industry. Marsh spoke recently to the state chapter of
the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. Source:
California Farm Bureau Federation Ag Alert.
“The high court’s decision might hinge, in part, on its
assessment of whether the gene-mingling that apparently is occurring is
significant or minor. Likewise, it will have to assess the economic
impact of the use of genetically engineered seeds to Monsanto, farmers
who plant its seeds and farmers who do not.” – Editorial in the
Omaha World Herald on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear
arguments later this month on a lower court’s 2007 ruling banning the
sale and planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa seed prior to completion of
an environmental impact statement by USDA. Read
the complete editorial.
“I wish them success in their pursuit!” – Cole Gustafson,
North Dakota State University (NDSU) biofuels economist, commenting on
university research projects now under way in Wisconsin and Mississippi
aiming to come up with a one-pass, on-farm cubing system for processing
biomass. Gustafson says such a system, compared to baling, would offer
efficiencies to electrical power and heating plants interested in
combining cellulosic biofuels with coal for use as a fuel source. But,
he adds, several major problems still need to be worked out. He wrote
about the topic recently in his “New Energy Economics” column,
published regularly on the NDSU
Extension Web site.
|Hay & Forage Grower – Digital
Get all of the features of Hay & Forage Grower print editions
with all the interactive capabilities only available online.
Here's a sneak peak of our special Custom Forage Harvesting issue mailed
to custom operators across the U.S.:
Click here to view
the digital edition.
- Look At Overlap Loss
- Optimize Your Chopper
- Tractor Power
- Employee Perks
Sales of high-quality Coastal bermudagrass hay have picked up sharply in
recent weeks, according to Mark Randell of Mark Randell Family Hay Farms
He notes that, even with the cold winter, hay wasn’t moving in
December, January and February. “But last month it seemed like
everybody was looking for quality hay. The volume of hay we moved out
per week was double compared to what it had been earlier in the winter.
I’m not quite sure why it worked out that way. Maybe people had
finally just used up all of their inventory.”
He grows 500 acres of bermudagrass, packaging most of it in net-wrapped
54” round bales. He also buys and resells hay. Randell's primary
customers are feed stores and brokers serving the small horse-owner
market in northern Florida.
Even with the recent pickup in sales, Randell says most sellers in his
area “are still a little long on hay” and that prices have backed
off accordingly. He’s currently charging $38 for a roll weighing
650-700 lbs. That’s down a couple dollars per roll from what he was
getting heading into the winter. “We had to drop the price to keep hay
moving,” he says.
Randell can be reached at 386-208-2758 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Horse-hay sales volume has dropped off sharply in many parts of the
country over the past year or so, but Chris and Donna Oliver, Burke, NY,
have actually seen business pick up. Last year, the Olivers’ DBA Hay
Express had a 10% increase in new customers and a record year for hay
In a typical year, the Olivers buy horse hay, mostly grass, from 10-15
growers in upstate New York. Most of it is packaged in 45- to 50-lb
bales. Their primary market is small horse-farm owners and stables and
feed stores throughout New England (from northern Vermont to
Massachusetts and Connecticut). They moved nearly 100,000 bales into the
horse market last year.
Emphasizing quality has played a big part in enabling DBA to hold the
line on prices, says Chris Oliver. Currently, the Olivers are selling
top-quality first-crop grass hay for $6.50/bale delivered. Their best
second-crop hay is bringing $7-7.50/bale, and lower-quality bales bring
$5-5.50. All of those prices are in line with year-ago levels.
“Horse owners can be pretty fussy,” says Oliver. “If we come
across a bale with even the smallest spot indicating there might be a
problem with dust or mold, it doesn’t go on the truck. We also offer a
100% guarantee on all of our hay. If a customer is unhappy with a bale,
we offer to replace it bale for bale, no questions asked. The way I look
at it, my overall business is only as good as the last bale of hay
I’ve sold. I always tell people that the real reason why we are so
sucessful is because God owns our business. He just lets us run it.”
The couple is also working to build a market for mulch hay with
construction firms and government agencies in New England. Last year
they sold 80,000 bales into that market. Their biggest contract was with
a company doing erosion-control work on a 52-mile-long power-line
project running between Ludlow and Brattleboro, VT. “With all the rain
we had last year, it was tough for many of our suppliers to make the
kind of hay that’s in demand in the horse market. Construction hay
turned out to be a good secondary market.”
The Olivers can be reached at 518-335-9787 (cell) or 888-429-3977
(office) or by email at email@example.com.
The 2010 Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference will be held April
20-21 at the Grand Wayne Center, Fort Wayne, IN. Featured sessions will
address nutrition and animal health, heifer management and
Registration fee for the conference, sponsored jointly by Ohio State
University, Purdue University and Michigan State University, is $195.
information. See papers from
previous years’ conferences.
The University of California will hold an Alfalfa, Forages and
Biofuels Field Day tomorrow, April 14, at the UC Desert Research and
Extension Center in El Centro.
Topics to be addressed in the alfalfa and forages section include
alfalfa varieties for the low desert, nematodes in alfalfa and insect
pest management in alfalfa. In the biofuels section, topics will include
prospects for crop-based biofuels, sorghum irrigation for forage or
biofuel and switchgrass and miscanthus as biofuels. A barbecue lunch
will be served at noon.
For more information, call the Imperial County Extension office at
April 14-15 -- Kentucky Grazing School, University of
Kentucky Research & Education Center, Princeton. Preregistration
April 16-18 -- Midwest Horse Fair, Alliant Energy Center,
Madison, WI. Get more
April 23-25 -- Minnesota Horse Expo 2010, Minnesota State
Fairgrounds, St. Paul. Learn
April 27 -- Buying And Feeding Hay (For Horse Owners), University
of Tennessee Extension, Agricenter Showplace Arena WarmUp Barn and
Meeting Place, Memphis. Call 901-752-1207 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 6 -- Beef Cattle and Forage Crops Field Day, Kansas State
University, Southeast Agricultural Research Center, Mound Valley Unit,
Mound Valley. Contact Lyle Lomas at email@example.com or 620-421-4826.
May 13 -- Legume Management In The Southeast: Field Day And Pasture
Walk, Central Georgia Research & Education Center, Eatonton. Get more details.
May 19 -- University Of California Alfalfa & Forage Crops Field Day,
UC-Davis Agronomy Field Headquarters, Davis. Get additional details.
June 21-23 -- American Forage And Grassland Council Annual
Conference, University Plaza Hotel, Springfield, MO. Get details.
Aug. 9-10 -- Kentucky Grazing School, Woodford County Extension
Office, Versailles. Preregistration required. See
Sept. 1-4 -- National Hay Association Annual Meeting, Griffin
Gate Marriott Resort, Lexington, KY. Watch for details.
Feb. 24, 2011 -- Kentucky Alfalfa Conference, Fayette County
Extension office, Lexington. Watch for details.
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