Hay & Forage Grower
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While overabundant moisture this growing season has posed a major
challenge for haymakers in areas stretching from the Pacific Northwest
through the Upper Midwest, producers in parts of the eastern U.S. have
been battling heat and lack of precipitation.
“Things around here are pretty brown,” says Tyrone Fisher. He’s
executive director for North Carolina Extension in Warren County, one of
18 counties in the state listed as being in moderate drought by the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Fisher reports that hay growers had adequate moisture for putting up a
good first crop of fescue and bermudagrass at the end of May and into
early June. Since then, though, rain has been hard to come by and
temperatures have climbed. “As a result, we haven’t seen much in the
way of growth,” he says. “Our second cutting is definely at risk.”
here to read the entire story.
Recent rains in many parts of Texas and southern Arkansas have
taken the pressure off livestock producers to line up supplemental feed
Just two weeks ago, producers in Somervell County, TX (southwest of
Dallas) were already feeding hay to supplement pastures that had been
all but burned up by an extended dry spell. But several rains resulting
from a tropical depression following Hurricane Alex helped turned things
around. “There was another round of showers last week, with reports
ranging from 1 to 1.5”,” says Joshua Blanek, ag agent for Texas
AgriLife Extension. “This was icing on the cake. Producers who
hadn’t already were busy fertilizing hayfields and were excited about
getting a good second cutting of hay. Everybody’s happy.”
In Coryell County (northwest of Temple), sorghum, pastures and native
grasses responded to the rain, but many producers will probably harvest
what corn there is for silage rather than grain. “The corn was planted
early when it was so dry, and it didn't get any rain,” says AgriLife
Extension agent Lyle Zoeller. “We're very excited about the forages,
A series of rain events over the past two weeks was also welcome news in
southern Arkansas. “I had heard from some livestock producers who were
thinking of selling some of their cattle because pastures were burning
up and they were running out of grass,” says Chad Norton, staff
chairman for University of Arkansas Extension in Lincoln County. “But
pastures have recovered the past couple of weeks. The rains will provide
a second hay cutting, which was in doubt before. We would have been very
short on hay otherwise.”
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement last
week that it is lowering the target for U.S. production of cellulosic
biofuel in 2011 (see "EPA
Cuts Cellulosic Ethanol Production Target") shouldn’t be
considered a surprise, says Cole Gustafson, biofuels economist with
North Dakota State University Extension.
EPA now expects less than 25 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel to be
produced in the U.S. next year. When the Energy Independence and
Security Act of 2007 originally went into effect, the agency had set a
target for cellulosic biofuel production in 2011 at 250 million gallons.
“The EPA had no choice in lowering the target because the development
of cellulosic biofuel has been slower than initially expected,”
Gustafson writes in his regular New
Energy Economics column. “Several root causes have been the lack
of financial capital for investment and commercialization of cellulosic
biofuel production, gaps in U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee
programs supporting industry growth and increased availability of
sugarcane ethanol that competes as an advanced biofuel.”
Gustafon notes that there has been an intense debate on whether EPA
should have kept its original renewable fuel mandates. “In doing so,
market prices for cellulosic biofuel would have risen, which would have
increased the profitability of cellulosic biofuel investment projects.
On the other hand, the mandate also includes several loopholes that give
blenders credit for cellulosic biofuel they have blended in past years.
This would have lessened the price increase.”
|Know where to find the best alfalfa seed?
Isn’t it obvious? Syngenta alfalfa varieties offer top yield, high
forage quality and exceptional persistence. Plus all the varieties you
need, available through your Garst seed advisor, Golden Harvest dealer
or NK retailer. Contact them today to place your order.
The Syngenta logo is a trademark of a Syngenta Group
The University of Wisconsin’s Team Forage recently updated
its Effect of Wheel Traffic on Alfalfa Yield fact sheet. Authored
by Extension forage specialist Dan Undersander, the publication explains
how wheel traffic causes forage loss, details how much forage can be
lost and offers tips for reducing losses. See
the fact sheet.
Common Terms Used In Animal Feeding and Nutrition, a new
publication from University of Georgia Extension, explains terms
commonly used by animal nutritionists, veterinarians, feed salesmen and
laboratory managers, Extension personnel and other industry
professionals when discussing animal nutrition. The publication is
available at the Georgia Forages
World Ag Expo is soliciting recommendations for seminar topics at
next year’s expo, scheduled for Feb. 8-10 at the International
Agri-Center in Tulare, CA. Seminar categories include hay and forage,
beef, career and education, dairy, general agriculture, international
trade, irrigation and women in agriculture. Get
Program provides Michigan producers with quick access to current
weather conditions, historical weather data and local forecasts.
Developed by Michigan State University, the program offers information
on current degree-day accumulations, predictions on when to cut alfalfa,
recommendations on when to irrigate field crops and more. Data for the
program is collected from a network of 64 weather stations around the
Economists with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis say things
are looking up for livestock producers in the Upper Midwest after a
tough 2009. Higher meat and dairy product prices, along with lower feed
costs get the credit. Learn
Top-end dairy-quality hay prices have dropped off from just a few months
ago, but all indications are they’ll head higher toward the end of the
year, says Dale Leslein, manager of the Dyersville
Hay Auction in Dyersville.
Currently, alfalfa testing 160 relative feed value or above is bringing
$150-175/ton. “That’s still pretty good for this time of year, and
considering the tough times dairy producers are going through, it’s
very good,” says Leslein.
As the year goes on, though, he looks for prices to rise sharply. He
notes that supplies of high-quality dairy alfalfa hay will be on the
short side due to poor haymaking weather in much of the Midwest.
“It’s the most challenging year we’ve ever had for getting good
hay made,” he says. “In our area, we’ve only had five to six
decent days to make hay. And the story is pretty much the same in other
parts of Iowa, Illinois, southern Wisconsin, South Dakota and
Rising corn prices will likely play a role as well. “The corn crop is
really suffering in Iowa and Illinois,” he says. “It seems like just
about every field you drive by has some damage.”
Couple the weather-related problems with more corn going into ethanol
production, he says, and chances of seeing $5 corn by next spring are
pretty good. “And as the corn price goes up, it will drag the price of
high-quality hay along with it.
“I know times are tough in dairy right now, but I’ve been telling
dairy producers that if they can afford to buy any dairy-quality hay,
they should put it away now.”
Sales at Dyersville Hay Auction are held every Wednesday starting at 11
a.m. To contact Leslein, phone 563-875-2481 or email email@example.com.
The alfalfa growing season is off to a good start in the south-central
part of the state. “Things are looking really good,” says Jorey
Dahners, North Dakota State University Extension agent for Grant and
Sioux counties. “We’re seeing some of the best yields we’ve seen
in a decade.”
Typically, alfalfa growers in the region get just one cutting. This
year, though, Dahner says many people will be able to take two. “The
alfalfa that has been taken off so far has come back pretty nicely,
though we could use a little shot of rain again to help it along. If we
get it, people should be in pretty good shape heading into the winter.
We’ve had a pretty good grass hay crop, too.”
He adds that some producers are just starting to report seeing
grasshoppers in fields and pastures. “Our counts were pretty high here
last year, so people are a little nervous. We had some wet and cool
weather early in the season (during the grasshopper hatch), and we’re
hoping that will hold the numbers in check a little. Even so, we’ll
likely see some hot spots. We’ll just have to see how it all plays
Dahners can be reached at 701-622-3470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Social Networking For Forage Producers
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Potato leafhoppers have built up in eastern Nebraska and damage is
evident in some fields, says Bob Wright, University of Nebraska
First-year, spring-planted alfalfa fields are particularly vulnerable to
potato leafhoppers. In older fields, the insects are usually a problem
on second and third cuttings.
Newly developed, resistant varieties provide fairly good protection from
potato leafhoppers. But alfalfa in the seedling stage may still be
damaged. All fields should still be scouted, as large numbers of
leafhoppers may cause a problem, even in resistant-variety fields.
tables on treatment thresholds.
See a list
of recommended insecticides.
Biofuel and traditional crops will be featured at an upcoming
University of Arkansas field day. The field day is set for July 29 at
the Rohwer Research Station near Dumas.
The biofuel tour segment will chronicle research efforts to produce
crops for the biofuels market. Test plots of switchgrass, giant
miscanthus, sweet sorghum and cottonwood trees will be on display during
presentations. Tours of traditional crops will include cotton, rice,
soybeans and corn. A catfish lunch will be provided at the conclusion of
For more information, contact Kelly Bryant at 870-460-1091 or email@example.com.
New Mexico State University’s Valencia County Extension Service
will be hosting a forage production workshop on Friday, July 30. Site of
the event is the Student Community Center at the University of New
Mexico-Valencia campus in Los Lunas.
The workshop will include sessions on common forage insects, soil health
for optimal crop production, post-harvest management, alfalfa
production, annual forage crop production, weed identification and
control, horse forages and matching herbicides with plant species.
Due to limited space, early registration is encouraged. Call the
Valencia County Extension office at 505-565-3002 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 20-22 -- Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, Roger and Bev
Peterson farm, south of River Falls. Get details.
July 21-- Illinois Forage Expo/Hay Contest, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.,
Law-Rae Dairy Farm, Manteno. Get details or call
815-772-4075 or email email@example.com.
Aug. 9-10 -- Kentucky Grazing School, Woodford County Extension
Office, Versailles. Preregistration required. See
For a complete list of upcoming events, click here.
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