Should You Keep That Alfalfa Stand?
As winter weather approaches, producers question if
their alfalfa stands should be kept for another year or rotated to corn
next spring. "Unfortunately, this is not always a yes or no decision,"
says Marvin Hall, Penn State University agronomist. He suggests recent
research can help in assessing the productivity and profitability of a
questionable alfalfa stand.
The magic number of plants that traditionally indicated when it was time
to rotate out of alfalfa was four to five per square foot. However,
depending on fertility and weed invasion, alfalfa stands with five
plants per square foot can yield as much as a stand with 10 or 15, Hall
notes. "The correlation between plants per square foot and yield is
very low since individual alfalfa plants respond to decreasing stand
density by producing more stems," he says. "Increased stems per plant
compensates for fewer plants and maintains the yield."
The number of stems per square foot may be a better indicator of the
productivity of an alfalfa stand. Fields with 55 or more stems per
square foot produce maximum yields, according to Hall. As the stem
number declines below 55 per square foot, yields begin to decline. Once
stem numbers fall below 40 per square foot, alfalfa fields begin to lose
profitability and should be rotated out of alfalfa.
Contact Marvin Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Penn State University.
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Pricing Hay And Haylage In The Field
Selling hay or haylage as a standing crop is
essentially the same as renting established hay land, says William
Edwards, Iowa State University extension economist. "Cash rent for land
with an established grass-legume hay crop varies widely depending on
yield, hay quality and local demand," he explains. Across Iowa, hay
rental rates range from $70 to $90 per acre in northern Iowa and from
$50 to $70 in southern Iowa. For established alfalfa, rental rates are
from $100 to $120 in northern Iowa and from $60 to $80 in southern Iowa.
For the first cutting of hay or haylage, Edwards says a charge equal to
40-50% of the yearly rent is appropriate. Later cuttings are usually
worth only 25-35% of the yearly rent. The value of standing hay can also
be estimated by subtracting harvesting costs from the market value of
the same hay. Custom rates can be used to estimate harvesting costs. For
example, if the price of alfalfa hay is $3/bale, and harvesting costs
are 80 cents/bale, the value of the hay in the field would be
When pricing haylage, the feed value of a ton of 40-50% moisture,
unharvested haylage can be estimated as equal to roughly half that of a
ton of dry hay, minus the costs for windrowing, harvesting and hauling.
Therefore, if hay costs $70/ton, and harvesting costs are $16/ton, the
value of the standing haylage would be $19/ton.
Some owners prefer to keep part of the hay crop instead of charging cash
rent. For an established crop for which the owner pays all the fertility
costs, the owner is probably entitled to about 60%. If the person who
harvests the crop pays part of the establishment and fertility costs,
the owner's share should probably be only 40-50%.
Contact Edwards at 515-294-6161 or email@example.com .
Source: Iowa State University.
Report Shows Fewer Dairy Cattle Culled
USDA's latest Livestock Slaughter report, issued last
week, shows that 190,000 dairy cows were culled in August, up from
162,000 in July but 10,000 less than in August 2004. From January
through August, a total of 1.45 million cows left the dairy business,
down from 1.55 million during the same period of 2004.
NK Brand Alfalfas deliver
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Expedition and Boulder, combine high nutritional values with high
yields, plus outstanding agronomics and persistence for longer,
healthier stands. The result? More profit from your alfalfa acres -
whether you feed it or sell it. www.nk-us.com
Most of Alabama's forage producers escaped significant
damage from Hurricane Katrina, reports Don Ball, Auburn University
forage agronomist. Three counties in the southwestern part of the state
were the hardest hit. Some hay barns lost roofs or were otherwise
damaged in those areas. "There was some disruption of the hay market in
that southwestern area because of the hurricane, but if we had not had
the problem with damage to hay facilities, we would not have had much
impact on the forage and livestock business," he says. Ball estimates
that less than 5% of the state's hay producers are located in the
"This year has been very favorable for forage growth in most of Alabama
because we have had a lot of rainfall," says Ball. "The downside is that
it has been difficult to bale hay without it getting rained on." Alabama
producers are preparing to plant cool-season forage crops. Ball says
there has been a lot of recent interest in planting forage crops for
wildlife. "There are some counties in Alabama where there is more forage
seed sold for wildlife plantings than for livestock," he notes.
Learn more about Alabama forage production by visiting the Auburn
University forage Web page at www.aces.edu/department/forages/.
David and Stacia Kohler report they're selling small
bales of first-cutting grass hay for $2.50/bale, alfalfa-grass mixes
from the second and third cuttings for $4/bale and second- and
third-cutting alfalfa for $5/bale. Kohler Farms is north of New Albany,
OH, near Columbus. The majority of the Kohlers' business is done within
the horse market. "Our customers range from people with one or two
horses to 30 horses," David says. Kohler Farms' most popular hay
products are 60-70 lb bales of timothy, orchardgrass-alfalfa and
timothy-alfalfa, and 50-60lb bales of reed canarygrass mixed with
orchardgrass. In addition to horse customers, the Kohlers sell alfalfa
hay to meat goat breeders, and orchardgrass-alfalfa mixes to alpaca
owners. They also operate a 40-horse boarding stable.
Rain from the remnants of Hurricane Katrina arrived too late to benefit
most of Ohio's drought-stressed corn crop, according to USDA. Because of
the drought, USDA has been asked to designate 72 Ohio counties as
disaster areas, enabling affected farmers to apply for federal
Visit the Kohler Farms Web site at www.kohlerfarms.com/. Contact David Kohler at
Trust us. Your cows will thank
you for it.
Treat your alfalfa with SENCOR® Herbicide. It takes care
of winter annuals that can seriously reduce nutritional value. So you
get hay that's worth more and you'll get the kind of quality cuttings
cows can really sink their teeth into. www.bayercropscienceus.com
Register Now For Western Hay Business Conference And
Don't forget to register for the 2005 Western Hay
Business Conference and Expo, Nov. 29-30 in Loveland, CO. It will be
held at The Ranch conference facility in Loveland. Learn more about the
conference and register by calling Cindy Kramer at 952-851-4698, or by
visiting the conference Web site at www.hayconference.com.
**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/.
**Oct. 15 -- Oregon Hay King Contest, Jefferson County
Fairgrounds, Madras, OR. Contact Mylen Bohle for more information at
**Oct. 31-Nov.4 -- Pacific Northwest Forage Worker's Conference,
Research and Extension Center, Prosser, WA. Contact Mylen Bohle at
541-447-6228 or Steve Fransen at 509-786-9266.
**Nov. 21-22 -- Iowa Forage and Grassland Council Annual Meeting,
Des Moines Airport Holiday Inn. Contact Joan O'Brien at 800-383-1682.
**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
**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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com.
**Dec. 15 -- Alabama Forage Conference, Troy. Learn more at www.alabamaforages.com or call Don Ball at
**Jan. 18-19 -- Washington State Hay Growers Association Convention
and Trade Show, Three Rivers Convention Center, Kennewick. Learn
more at www.wa-hay.org.
**Jan. 19-20 -- Southwest Hay Conference & Trade Show, Ruidoso
Convention Center, Ruidoso, NM. Learn more at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 505-626-5677 or
**Jan. 25-26 -- Heart of America Grazing Conference, Cave City,
KY. Call 270-365-7541.
**Feb. 7-8 -- Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association's Mid-America
Alfalfa Expo, Kearney. Contact Barb Kinnan at 800-743-1649 or visit
**Feb. 23 -- Kentucky Alfalfa Conference, Lexington. Contact
Garry Lacefield at 270-365-7541, ext. 202.
**Feb. 27-28 -- Idaho Hay and Forage Association Meeting, Red
Lion Canyon Springs Hotel, Twin Falls. Learn more at www.idahohay.com/.
**Mar. 10-14 -- 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 -- Midwest Hay Business Conference and Expo,
Ramkota Hotel, Sioux Falls, SD. Sponsored by Hay & Forage
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