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September 6, 2005 A PRIMEDIA Property

eHay Weekly Contents
RFQ Results Help Market Grass Hay

Legume Information Network To Be Developed

Hurricane Katrina Impacts Dairy Industry

Forage Sorghum Can Replace Corn

Kentucky

South Dakota

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This Week's USDA Hay Prices by State

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RFQ Results Help Market Grass Hay
The University of Georgia has worked to develop and refine a relative forage quality (RFQ) index for evaluating and marketing grass hay, according to Billy Skaggs, Hall County extension agent, Gainesville, GA. The RFQ index was initially developed at the University of Wisconsin to predict the fiber digestibility and animal intake of harvested crops. "Unfortunately, these equations were not applicable to warm-season forages like bermudagrass," says Skaggs. In 2003, Georgia researchers approached the Wisconsin group and proposed including warm-season forage crops in the index so that a useful equation could be developed for the Southeast.

Skaggs says more than 200 grass samples have since been used to develop an RFQ equation for bermudagrass and other warm-season forages. Currently, all forage sample results from the University of Georgia Feed and Forage Testing Lab in Athens contain an estimate of RFQ. This value is a single, easy-to-interpret number that helps the producer establish a fair market value for the product. "Relative forage quality will allow hay producers to easily categorize and price hay lots by quality," Skaggs says. "Cattle producers can purchase hay according to its end use. For example, there is little need to feed high-quality hay to livestock that could easily use a lesser-quality forage. It is also easy to see that relative forage quality could provide the framework for a quality hay marketing system."

Skaggs asks why hay produced in Georgia, Alabama and Florida isn't sold on a quality or weight basis. "When hay is sold on a per-bale basis, hay producers are not rewarded for producing quality hay and livestock producers fail to consider the economic value and biological importance of quality hay," he says. "One possible reason hay is not marketed on a quality basis is that pricing hay on a crude protein or TDN basis is cumbersome."

The RFQ system has recently been used to evaluate entries submitted to both the 2004 American Forage Grassland Council hay contest, held in Roanoke, VA, and the Tri-State Hay Show, held in October 2004 in Moultrie, GA. Several Georgia counties have also used RFQ to rank local hay contest entries. Entries for the 2005 Tri-State Hay Show will be accepted until Sept. 16. Entry forms and contest information are available at www.georgiaforages.com.

For more information, contact Skaggs at 770-531-6988.



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Top of the News
Legume Information Network To Be Developed
The National Center for Genome Resources (NCGR) announced that it has been awarded
$225,000 by USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) for initial development of a Legume Information Network (LIN). The network will bring together legume information resources and provide users with the ability to answer specific questions, such as identifying allergens in legumes through comparative genomics.

Today's biological research is multidisciplinary and involves integrating many types of experimental information. Biologists frequently work with information that is distributed across dozens of Web information resources. This can cause logistical frustration for biologists because they have to search multiple, often unlinked Web sites to find data, information, and analysis tools to support their research. The LIN will allow researchers and legume biologists to find information and data without having to "jump" among multiple Web sites.

NCGR will collaborate with USDA-ARS at Ames, IA, and the Center for Computational Genomics and Bioinformatics (CCGB) at the University of Minnesota to develop the network.


Hurricane Katrina Impacts Dairy Industry
Dairyline News reports that destruction of grain, grass and other feedstuffs will have long-term effects on U.S. milk production trends. According to the Louisiana State University AgCenter's 2004 Summary of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 308 Louisiana dairy farms produced milk worth $77.4 million in on-farm value. The High Plains Journal quoted Gary Hay of the AgCenter's dairy science department as saying milk producers were forced to dump milk last week because they were without enough electric power to operate their coolers, and trucks were unable to pick up the milk from farms. Of the six milk-processing plants in southeastern Louisiana, four were operating last week, and two others were down because of lack of power or water. Fuel availability is also an issue around New Orleans. The people evacuating the area exhausted nearly all fuel supplies. At the farm level, it's not known how much fuel farmers have on-hand to run generators or how much feed is available for the animals.

Farm milk is being picked up as best as possible, but with flooded or washed-out roads and bridges, in addition to downed trees and power lines, haulers are unable to reach some farms. Having a spot to ship the milk is another story. Some plants have been reopened, but some of these are jammed with milk and, depending on the geography of their customer base, some have nowhere to send the finished product. With stores shut down or destroyed, there is no outlet for bottled milk and other products.

Milk output is said to be somewhat steady in Florida, and that state's milk needs and milk imports continue. Milk haulers, particularly from Southwestern suppliers, are being rerouted around the storm-damaged areas. This adds miles, time and cost to the trip. Grade A milk shipments into other Southeastern states also continue.

Source: Dairyline Radio News.


Forage Sorghum Can Replace Corn
Cattle can munch more efficiently if producers are willing to look at forage sorghum, according to two Texas A&M University extension specialists. Stocker cattle grazing systems, confined cattle feeding and a budding dairy industry create a growing demand for quality silage. The demand has traditionally been met with corn silage. However, agronomist Brent Bean and beef specialist Ted McCollum say five years of trials show that forage sorghum can help meet the need for high-quality silage. And it can meet that need while saving precious irrigation water.

"The potential for replacing corn with forage sorghum exists with the recent development of productive, high-quality forage sorghum varieties," Bean says. Producers can get the same tonnage of forage sorghum as corn and use at least 25% less water, he notes. Also, the quality of certain sorghum varieties equals that of corn, and the fuel costs are less to grow forage sorghum, Bean says.

The key consideration, however, will be for producers to be paid according to the value of the crop. "The old conventional method of saying forage sorghums are worth less than corn silage is not necessarily true," McCollum says. In feed quality trials, he reports, corn silage has been replaced with forage sorghum without lowering the rate of gain or feed efficiency.

Both Bean and McCollum warn that there is more variability in sorghum than in corn, so it's more important for producers to study variety trials. More than 80 sorghum varieties are growing next to corn in trials at the Texas Ag Experiment Station's James Bush Research Farm north of Bushland. Results will be posted at the end of the season. Earlier trial results can be found at amarillo.tamu.edu/programs/agronomy/publications.

Source: Texas A&M University.



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State Reports
Kentucky
The remains of Hurricane Katrina brought rain to a large portion of Kentucky last week, according to US AgNet. University of Kentucky forage specialist Ray Smith says the recent rain could improve pasture prospects for the fall.

"This is good across the board except where there is standing water," he says. "Standing water can cause stand losses in sensitive forage crops like alfalfa. But overall, it's purely a help and will fuel good pasture growth." Smith says farmers might have a good hay cutting at the end of September, depending on future weather conditions. "It came about as late as it could to help forage producers," Smith emphasizes. "Farmers who had put nitrogen on for stockpiling fall forages should see a real benefit."

The bluegrass climate zone in Kentucky has been in severe drought for several weeks, and west and central zones have been in moderate drought, reports Tom Priddy, University of Kentucky ag meteorologist. "For the most part, the recent rainfall has improved conditions in Kentucky, and while it's true we needed many inches of rain to pull us out of the drought, some areas got it too quickly," he notes.

In western areas of the state, some communities saw as much as 11" of rain over several days, including some that fell before Katrina hit the area. In Hopkinsville, high water closed several roads and businesses after 6" fell in a few hours.


South Dakota
Preliminary August prices for other hay were up, according to USDA's South Dakota Agricultural Statistics Service. The all-hay price for August, at $59/ton, was down $2 from the July price but unchanged from the August 2004 level. The alfalfa price, at $62/ton, was the same as in July and last August. The other hay price, at $50, was up $5 from the July price and $3 from the August 2004 price.

Meanwhile, alfalfa and grass hay prices were holding steady as of the end of last week, with some producers wrapping up the final cutting of alfalfa for the season. USDA reports that, in large square bales, supreme alfalfa hay was selling for $120-125/ton, premium alfalfa for $92.50-110/ton, and good alfalfa for $70-80/ton.

In large round bales, premium alfalfa sold for $90-100/ton in eastern South Dakota, while good round bales brought $65-85/ton; fair, $50-60/ton and utility, $35-45/ton.

Small square bales of grass hay brought $70-80/ton. Large square bales of premium grass hay brought $100/ton and good large square bales of grass hay sold for $80/ton. In round bales, good grass hay brought $60-75/ton; fair, $45-55/ton, according to USDA.



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Calendar of Events

** Sept. 8 -- Forage Management Workshop, Purdue Crop Diagnostic Training and Research Center near West Lafayette, IN. Hands-on crop diagnostic training session, concentrating on forage management issues. Contact Corey Gerber at gerberc@purdue.edu.

**Sept. 17 & 24 -- Northern Michigan Grazing School, Wolverine and Harrisville, MI, respectively. Contact Norman Suverly at 989-724-6478 or suverly@msu.edu.

** Sept. 29-Oct. 1 -- National Hay Association 110th Annual Convention, Embassy Suites Hotel, Lexington, KY. Call the National Hay Association at 800-707-0014.

** Oct. 4-8 -- World Dairy Expo, Alliant Energy Center, Madison, WI. Visit www.world-dairy-expo.com/.

** Nov. 29-30 -- Western Hay Business Conference and Expo, The Ranch, Loveland, CO. Learn more by calling Cindy Kramer at 952-851-4698, or by visiting the conference Web site at www.hayconference.com.

**Dec. 2 -- Sheep and Meat Goat Training Program, Kirksville, MO. Contact Bruce Lane at 660-665-9866 or Garry Mathes at 660-665-7049. Or go to missourilivestock.com and click on Sheep and Meat Goat Training Program.

**Dec. 2-3 -- Missouri Livestock Symposium, Kirksville. Programs on sheep, meat goats, stock and guard dogs, horses, beef cattle, forages, swine, crops and more. Name entertainment and trade show. Details at missourilivestock.com, or call Bruce Lane at 660-665-9866 or Garry Mathes at 660-665-7049.

**Dec. 6-7 -- Midwest Dairy Expo, St. Cloud Civic Center, St. Cloud, MN. The 2005 expo features nationally known speakers, educational programs and exhibits of dairy supplies and services. Contact trade show coordinator Eir Garcia-Silva of the Minnesota Milk Producers Association at 320-203-8336 or mmpa@mnmilk.org.

** Dec. 7-8 -- Midwest Forage Association Farm Bill Forum and Research Summit, Holiday Inn Select, Minneapolis, MN. Contact Midwest Forage Association for more information at 651-484-3888.

**Dec 12-14 -- California Alfalfa & Forage Symposium and Trade Show, Visalia. Learn more at alfalfa.ucdavis.edu or contact dhputnam@ucdavis.edu.

**Dec. 15 -- Alabama Forage Conference, Troy. Learn more at www.alabamaforages.com or call Don Ball at 334-844-5491.

** Jan. 18-19, 2006 -- Washington State Hay Growers Association Convention and Trade Show, Three Rivers Convention Center, Kennewick. Learn more at www.wa-hay.org.

**Jan. 19-20, 2006 -- Southwest Hay Conference & Trade Show, Ruidoso Convention Center, Ruidoso, NM. Learn more at info@nmhay.com, or call 505-626-5677 or 505-622-8080.

**Jan. 25-26, 2006 -- Heart of America Grazing Conference, Cave City, KY. Call 270-365-7541.

** Feb. 7-8, 2006 -- Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association's Mid-America Alfalfa Expo, Kearney. Contact Barb Kinnan at 800-743-1649 or visit www.nebraska-alfalfa.com.

**Feb. 23, 2006 -- Kentucky Alfalfa Conference, Lexington. Contact Garry Lacefield at 270-365-7541, ext. 202.

** Feb. 27-28, 2006 -- Idaho Hay and Forage Association Meeting, Red Lion Canyon Springs Hotel, Twin Falls. Learn more at www.idahohay.com/.

** Mar. 10-14, 2006 -- 2006 American Forage and Grassland Council Conference, Westin Riverwalk Hotel, San Antonio, TX. Learn more at www.afgc.org, or call Dana Tucker at 800-944-2342.

**March 14-15, 2006 -- Midwest Hay Business Conference and Expo, Ramkota Hotel, Sioux Falls, SD. Sponsored by Hay & Forage Grower.


Comments from Readers
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Lora Berg, Editor, eHay Weekly,

hfg@primediabusiness.com



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