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by Rick Mooney
Editor, eHay Weekly
While income prospects have improved in recent months, California dairy producers still face many uncertainties in the year ahead, according to a spokesman for the state’s largest producer-processor cooperative.
“Things are definitely better for dairy producers here than they were a year ago,” notes Eric Erba, senior vice president of administrative affairs for California Dairies, Inc., Visalia. “But you really can’t say much beyond that. Overall, we’re still in recovery mode.”
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A new edition of the Alfalfa Management Guide offers information on the latest alfalfa establishment, production and harvest strategies. The 2011 guide was recently published by the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America.
Along with recommendations to growers, it features useful pictures and easy-to-read reference charts and graphs. Extension agronomists, pathologists and entomologists from Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Idaho and Ohio contributed to the publication.
The guide costs $10. For more information, call 608-273-8080 or email email@example.com.
With this winter’s heavy snowfall making flooding likely in parts of North Dakota, livestock producers may soon need to move hay to higher ground, says Charlie Stoltenow, North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension veterinarian.
Hay production was above average in 2010, and some hay is stored in low spots in fields, along creeks and rivers and on the sides of roads that could wash out.
“It is easier to move or blow snow on top of frozen ground to get to your hay now than it is to try to fight 3’ of mud with 3’ of water on top of that,” Stoltenow says. “Producers should have their contingency plans in place by mid-March, if not sooner.”
North Dakota producers concerned about running out of feed should visit the NDSU FeedList, he advises.
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Roundup Ready alfalfa will require good agronomic and weed management, says University of California Extension forage specialist Dan Putnam in this Hay & Forage Grower video.
The 2011 Weed Control Guide for Ohio and Indiana is available online. The guide, updated annually to reflect the changing herbicide market and evolving weeds, offers information growers need to make informed decisions on controlling weeds. It’s compiled by Extension specialists from Purdue University and Ohio State University. See the guide.
The North Dakota 2010 Custom Farm Work Rates report lists rates for tillage, seeding, fertilizer and pesticide application, haying operations, harvesting operations, drying grain, hauling crops and several miscellaneous operations. The guide can be used to establish rates for custom work, compare ownership or leasing costs with custom work and settle accounts when two or more people exchange work. Get the report.
Hay growers hit by a sleet and ice storm earlier this month will want to get an early jump on scouting for winter injury and/or winterkill in stands, says Keith Johnson, Purdue University Extension forage specialist.
The storm affected west-central and east-central Indiana. “It was one of the most unusual precipitation events I’ve seen in all my years here,” says Johnson. “It was a mixture of sleet, rain, snow and ice. When it was over, it left a lot of plants covered with what I call ‘natural concrete.’ It’s just starting to melt.”
Growers should assess damage early this spring, suggests Johnson. “It’s just a good idea to get out there to take a look around when things start warming up. If you find you need to reseed, it will give you more time to get the seed variety you want, get going with fertilizer, determine what your herbicide needs will be and plant in a timely fashion. If you delay the scouting for two or three weeks, you could find yourself making those decisions in panic mode.”
It’s an almost sure bet that hay consumption in the state this winter has been greater than normal, Johnson says. Even so, there doesn’t appear to be a major supply shortfall. “Whether that remains the case will be dictated by what happens with the weather over the next two months or so. We haven’t seen any kind of real strong run-up in prices at local hay auctions so far. And I haven’t had any inquiries from people looking for hay up to this point. That’s a good sign.”
Just to be on the safe side, Johnson advises livestock producers to inventory hay supplies now and assess their needs for the remainder of the season. “With each passing week from now until the end of winter, there’s going to be less and less hay around. Also, the longer you wait to buy, the less choice you’ll have on quality.”
To contact Johnson, call 765-494-4800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Livestock producers have been feeding hay at a pretty rapid clip, but supplies in the state should keep up with demand through the rest of this winter, says University of Tennessee Extension forage specialist Gary Bates.
A drought in parts of Tennessee last fall forced producers to begin winter hay feeding a few weeks earlier than normal, he notes. “And when they did start feeding, they weren’t able to go at it gradually and ramp up like they normally would. They had to go at it full bore.”
A colder, snowier-than-normal winter has put additional pressure on supplies. “We’ll need to see a warm-up in early to mid-March, or some people will likely struggle a little bit,” Bates adds.
He advises any grower who experienced extreme drought last fall to take a close look at pastures and hayfields in early spring. “It goes back to the basics. You’ll want to do some scouting, take a look at weed pressure, fertility levels and overall stand health. On stands that aren’t in good shape, you may have to do some reseeding this fall.”
To contact Bates, call 865-974-7208 or email email@example.com.
Alternative harvest methods to reduce drying times will be discussed by University of Wisconsin Extension forage specialist Dan Undersander at the Eastern Iowa Hay Producers Association (EIHPA) annual meeting and conference. It will be held March 10 at Buzzy’s in Welton.
Other topics on the agenda include alfalfa winterkill, weather effects on forages, an update on the Iowa Beef Center’s forage testing project and the implications of feeding the 2010 hay crop.
Conference registration is $30 and includes a membership in EIHPA and a meal. Tickets can be bought at the door. For more information, contact Denise Schwab at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kevin Brown at email@example.com or 563-872-4475.
The California Alfalfa Seed Production Symposium will be held March 9 at the University of California West Side Research and Extension Center in Five Points.
An update on the alfalfa seed industry, pesticide registration information, the alfalfa seed stewardship program, controlling pocket gophers and voles in seed alfalfa, and chemical company updates will be topics of discussion.
The cost is $20 and includes a proceedings and lunch. For additional information or to preregister, contact the Alfalfa Seed Production Research Board at 559-591-4792 or Fresno County farm advisor Shannon Mueller at 559-456-7261 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feb. 24 -- Kentucky Alfalfa Conference, Fayette County Extension office, Lexington. Get details at www.uky.edu/Ag/Forage/.
March 3-5 -- U.S. Custom Harvesters Inc. Annual Convention, Midtown Holiday Inn, Grand Island, NE. Visit www.uschi.com/ or email email@example.com.
March 4-5 -- 2011 Appalachian Grazing Conference, Waterfront Place Hotel, Morgantown, WV. Learn more at www.grazeappalachia.org.
March 24 -- Illinois Forage Institute, University of Illinois, Dixon Springs Agricultural Center, Simpson. Contact Dave Gentry at 309-557-6397 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 29-30 -- Southeast Hay Conference, Georgia Farm Bureau main office, Macon, GA. Visit georgiaforages.com/.
June 12-15 -- American Forage And Grassland Council Annual Conference, French Lick Resort, French Lick, IN. Contact Tina Bowling at 800-944-2342 or email@example.com.
Sept. 14-17 -- 116th National Hay Convention, Seattle, WA. Details to come at www.nationalhay.org.
Oct. 4-8 -- World Dairy Expo, Alliant Energy Center, Madison, WI. Get more information at www.worlddairyexpo.com/.
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