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 A Primedia Property October 4, 2005 |  
Ehay WEEKLY CONTENTS
Louisiana Beef Producers Seek Help, Hay
Top of the News Energy Prices Cause Big Income Reductions Slugs Damage Fall-Planted Alfalfa
State Reports Pennsylvania Hay Auction Report Oklahoma Texas
Calendar of Events Register For Hay Business Conference
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Louisiana Beef Producers Seek Help, Hay
Southwestern and south-central Louisiana beef cattle producers have endured a devastating hit from Hurricane Rita, reports Ed Twidwell, Louisiana State University extension forage specialist. "Many livestock producers are without hay and fencing materials," Twidwell says. He's asking the nation's hay and livestock producers to consider lending a hand with this dire situation.

The Louisiana Ag Summary suggests that over 175,000 cows reside in the hardest-hit parishes. Although information is still somewhat vague due to communication difficulties, LSU officials know that thousands of beef cattle are stranded and without hay and fresh water. Early reports suggest that, in Cameron Parish, 3,000-4,000 cattle are in need of hay and water and 4,000 may have been killed. Likewise, Vermilion Parish was two-thirds under water as of last week. "A tidal surge wiped out the lower part of the parish, drowning many cattle and displacing thousands more," reports Howard Cormier, an extension agent in the parish. "We're working to get cattle out of flooded areas. Many are along roadsides. Abortions are common, as cattle drink salty water and deal with stress and hunger." Up to 10,000 head of cattle are in need of feed and water in that area as well. "We're in need of hay to feed the cattle on higher ground. If anyone can donate round bales, please let us know," Cormier says.

Louisiana officials are seeking veterinary supplies, round bales, range cubes, portable corrals and fencing equipment. Staging areas for beef cattle relief have been set up at five locations in southwestern Louisiana. If you or someone you know is interested in donating hay or other supplies, please contact Jason Rowntree of the LSU Agricultural Center at 225-578-3345 or jrowntree@agctr.lsu.edu, or call Cormier at 337-898-4335 to ask about the emergency effort.

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Top of the News
Energy Prices Cause Big Income Reductions
The Red River Farm Network reports that North Dakota State University ag economists Richard Taylor and Won Koo have studied the impact of the recent surge in energy prices on farm income. In April, NDSU estimated that rising energy prices would cost the average North Dakota producer between $18 and $22 an acre. Since May, gasoline prices have increased about 49% and diesel prices are up 56%. Nitrogen fertilizer prices are 8% higher and phosphorus is about 10% higher. The estimated average net farm income has been reduced almost $20,000 from May to August. The NDSU study says the full impact of rising energy prices will be felt next year.

Source: North Dakota State University and Red River Farm Network.

Slugs Damage Fall-Planted Alfalfa
Older slugs are causing problems in some Ohio alfalfa fields, according to Ron Hammond, Ohio State University extension entomologist. "Although most slug problems are from juvenile slugs occurring in spring, we have observed significant feeding by adult slugs in fall plantings of alfalfa and winter wheat when either was no-till planted," Hammond states. "Thus, no-till growers who have planted either crop should check their fields and take corrective action if slugs are active and reducing stands."

Even if producers don't see slug feeding this fall, they should inspect all their fields in preparation for 2006. "The coming months are the time periods when growers should begin scouting their fields for slug populations for next year," Hammond says. "While we do not have thresholds, sampling will indicate whether a field has a small or large slug population," he says. A large population will help indicate which fields need extra monitoring next spring.

Hammond says there are a number of ways to sample for slugs. The main technique is to place wood boards or roofing shingles on the ground across the field and check them weekly throughout the fall. Count the number of adult slugs underneath the traps. "It's best to count the slugs in the morning," Hammond notes. He recommends setting 10 traps per field.

"Other ways of determining if fields have a lot of slugs is by visiting the fields in late evening before dusk or early in the morning during periods of heavy dew or fog," he explains. "Slugs will often be crawling on the plants -- especially corn -- if not yet harvested. Growers are also advised to look underneath the leaves of larger weeds that are covering the ground. Numerous slugs are often found.

Although no economic thresholds are available, fields with large slug populations should be monitored more closely next spring. "Fields with low numbers, while still needing sampling next spring, can be a lower priority," Hammond states.

Contact Hammond at 330-263-3727.

Source: Ohio State University.

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State Reports
Pennsylvania Hay Auction Report
A total of 68 loads sold at last week's A&C Diffenbach Hay Auction in New Holland, PA. Alfalfa averaged $138/ton, with a high of $205. Mixed hay averaged $130/ton, with a high of $165. Timothy reached a high of $185 and averaged $147. Orchardgrass hay peaked at $155 and averaged $125. The top and averages prices for straw were $195 and $146, respectively.

Hay auctions are held Mondays at 10 a.m. Contact A&C Diffenbach Auction at 717-355-7253, or visit www.acauction.net.

Oklahoma
New seedings of alfalfa and other legumes have been getting off to a slow start due to a very dry September in Oklahoma, reports John Caddel, Oklahoma State University forage agronomist. There's a lot of interest in Roundup Ready alfalfa in Oklahoma and producers who've been able to get seed are hoping to have enough moisture to get stands established. "Over 90% of our acreage is fall-planted in the state and I hope producers who planted the new seed were able to get rain," says Caddell. "In Oklahoma we need to have alfalfa up by Oct. 1 to really be assured we're going to have a good crop next year. We've had some rains, but they have been spotty."

High fertilizer prices are causing producers to take a close look at which grass pastures and hay meadows to fertilize. "I think producers are trying to decide how much they can cut back on nitrogen use while still getting good yields and quality," he says.

Caddel expects overall hay supplies to be a bit light because eastern Oklahoma was particularly dry, most likely impacting grass hay production. He thinks there will be a good supply of alfalfa hay in the state.

USDA reports that premium-quality alfalfa hay in large and small square bales is selling for $100-120/ton in central and western Oklahoma. Good-quality alfalfa is bringing $90-110/ton in large square bales; $100-110 in small square bales. Good large round alfalfa bales are selling for $80-90. Fair-quality alfalfa is selling for $70-85 in large square bales; $70-80 in large rounds.

Premium-quality grass hay is bringing $70-80/ton in large and small square bales; $60-70 in large rounds. Good-quality small squares of grass hay are selling for $65-75; good-quality large rounds, for $50-60/ton.

Contact Caddel at 405-744-9643.

Texas
Hurricane Rita battered southeastern Texas with strong winds and rain, but producers in other areas of the state were left high and dry, according to Texas Cooperative Extension. Many places in eastern Texas had no electricity following the storm, as trees and powerlines had fallen. Diesel fuel is hard to find, and even when available, there is a lack of electricity to pump it. Hay production ceased completely in the southeastern part of the state. Meanwhile, in many parts of northern and western Texas, livestock and crop producers face record-high temperatures and continuing drought. Producers in northern Texas are worried about a possible hay shortage this fall and winter.

"We have to delay the production of forage until we get enough rain, which is a tough deal when you have stocker cattle to feed," reports Billy Warrick, extension agronomist in San Angelo. "The rangeland is not green anymore, but crunchy and brown. There are plenty of challenges to face in solving this problem." Cattle producers without sufficient hay supplies will have to buy it or send cattle somewhere else, says Warrick.

In drought-choked southwestern Texas, many producers have already sent their cattle to Colorado or northwestern Texas. "Ranchers realize there is not enough forage available, so they're selling livestock or sending them to places where forage is available," says Jose Pena, extension economist in Uvalde. "Reports indicate that some forage is available in Northwestern Texas and Colorado. We're expecting more hot weather, but even if it starts raining right now, it would take a long time for grass to grow tall enough so cattle could graze it. We would need at least 40 or 45 days of moist soil conditions." Dry conditions have lasted all summer in southwestern Texas. Historically, April, May and September receive the most significant rainfall. Pena says the area received below-average rainfall in April and May, and less than 0.1" in September.

Dry conditions have caused energy consumption to increase because producers must irrigate. "Energy costs for production and irrigation have increased immensely," Pena says. "If we could get some rain this fall, it would really reduce irrigation costs." The weather service predicts that many parts of northern, southern and eastern Texas will continue to endure fairly high temperatures.

Some west-central Texas hayfields were recently sprayed for armyworms. Hay cutting and baling continued last week. Ranges and pastures were extremely dry. Soil moisture is very short in central Texas. Unusually hot and dry weather was reported last week. Dairy cows suffered due to high nighttime temperatures. Producers prepared to plant wheat and ryegrass last week, and most were waiting for rain.

USDA reports that hay supplies in Texas are light to moderate overall, with some producers noting very limited supplies to be stored for winter. Some have started selling only to established customers.

Contact Warrick at 325-653-4576 or b-warrick@tamu.edu, and Pena at 830- 278-9151 or jg-pena@tamu.edu.

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Calendar of Events
Register For Hay Business Conference
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.


**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. Contact Mylen Bohle at 541-447-6228.

**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 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 visit mmpa@mnmilk.org.

**Dec. 7-8 -- Midwest Forage Association Farm Bill Forum and Research Summit, Holiday Inn Select, Minneapolis, MN. Contact Midwest Forage Association 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 -- 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 info@nmhay.com, or call 505-626-5677 or 505-622-8080.

**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 www.nebraska-alfalfa.com.

**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 Grower.

Comments from Readers
Send Questions & Comments To...

Lora Berg, Editor, eHay Weekly,

hfg@primediabusiness.com

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