USDA Report Shows Slightly More Alfalfa, Less Other
Production of alfalfa hay and alfalfa-mixed hay is
forecast at 75.9 million tons for 2005, up 3% from USDA's August
estimate and up 1% from last year's production, according to the
agency's Oct. 12 Crop Production report. Yields are expected to average
3.43 tons per acre, up 0.09 ton from the August prediction, but down
0.04 ton from the 2004 figure. Harvested area is forecast at 22.1
million acres, unchanged from August but up 2% from last year's acreage.
Across most of the Corn Belt and southern Great Plains, weather
conditions were less favorable for hay production when compared to last
year, according to USDA. Illinois and Missouri, down 1.2 and 0.7
ton/acre, respectively, are expecting the largest decreases in
production, as drought conditions this year severely hurt yields.
Meanwhile, the largest increase in yield is expected in North Dakota,
where the average yield is forecast at 2.10 tons/acre, up 0.6 ton from
the 2004 figure. In North Dakota, ample soil moisture last spring helped
promote excellent growth, while dry conditions during July helped
complete the first cutting.
Production of other hay is forecast at 76.9 million tons, down 7% from
last year's amount. Based on Oct. 1 conditions, yields are expected to
average 1.94 tons, down 0.11 ton. Harvested area, at 39.6 million acres,
is down 2%.
Yields are at or below last year's levels in 19 States. But abundant
moisture in the Pacific Northwest, northern Great Plains and Southeast
last spring boosted expected yields in those regions compared with last
year. With the exception of Georgia, all states in the Southeast are
expecting yields that tie or break their previous record highs.
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Western Hay Business Conference & Expo Promises Profit
The 2005 Western Hay Business Conference and Expo kicks
off Nov. 29 with innovative hay growers talking about opening new
markets and expanding sales. Ron Anderson, a hay marketer and past
president of the National Hay Association (NHA), will talk about how the
NHA is taking U.S. alfalfa to Vietnamese dairies. Ken Vaupel, president
of Ohio Blenders, will tell conference attendees about his experiences
designing alfalfa products tailored to specific market needs. Bill
Wailes, Colorado State University, will discuss organic hay markets, and
Barney Little, hay buyer for Aurora Organic Dairy, will tell what he's
looking for from hay growers.
Targeting hay sales to the fast-growing horse market will be the first
day's final topic. Included will be a look at the size of the U.S. horse
market, where it's located, and what drives horse and boarding stable
owners in their quest for quality hay.
On Nov. 30, conference attendees will learn how researchers are
designing alfalfa for better performance in dairy rations. Dan Smith,
Colorado State University, will help producers understand how to get the
most alfalfa out of the least irrigation water. In breakout sessions,
growers can learn about computerizing their hay businesses or get the
latest information on Roundup Ready alfalfa. Conservation-friendly
alfalfa and timothy seedbed establishment and a discussion of relative
feed value (RFV) vs. relative forage quality (RFQ) will conclude the
Plan now to attend the Western Hay Business Conference & Expo at The
Ranch conference facility in Loveland, CO, on Nov. 29-30. Learn more
about the conference and find contact information for local hotels at www.hayconference.com. Call Cindy Kramer at
952-851-4698 for more information.
Get A Handle On Operating Expenses
The Brownfield Ag Network reports that a couple of
Wisconsin ag bankers are telling producers to take a serious look at
locking in some long-term interest rates, and at operating costs. Gary
Sipiorski with Citizens State Bank of Loyal is well known in the dairy
industry for his "Benchmarks for Dairy Financing." He says high energy
prices are going to change everything. "Everything you touch either
comes on a truck or leaves on a truck," he states. Consequently, he
stresses the need to get a handle on operating costs for next year.
Sipiorski fears a number of producers have no idea what their costs will
be. He also suspects the high energy prices will make livestock
producers take a closer look at custom planters and harvesters as they
look at what it costs them to grow alfalfa and corn for grain or silage.
He says many producers have already realized they can't justify big
combines or choppers.
Source: Brownfield Ag Network.
Two Armyworm Species March On Central
Hordes of fall armyworms and true armyworms have
invaded several central Texas counties, and the assault will likely
continue, according to Noel Troxclair, Texas A& M entomologist. He says
numbers of both species have increased significantly in recent weeks.
"This increase has caused problems for many area producers as there has
been an associated increase in the destruction of green grass crops in
the area," he says. "In areas of Atascosa, Frio, Medina and Zavala
counties, pastures and hayfields have been completely stripped. And the
affected area is probably more extensive and will continue to expand."
Extension agents in these and nearby counties have been asked to alert
producers to be on the lookout for possible armyworm infestations.
"We're trying to get producers in the region to scout their pastures,
hayfields and early planted grains for armyworms because any green grass
crop may be at risk," says Troxclair.
In spite of their names, fall armyworms and true armyworms are not worms
but the immature caterpillar form of moths. Troxclair points out that,
while fall armyworms feed around the clock, true armyworms feed
primarily at night and won't be found far up on plants during the day.
"Producers should look for armyworms down in the crowns of plants and
under debris on the soil surface," he says. The fall armyworm has an
inverted, cream-colored Y shape that contrasts with its dark brown head
capsule. "The true armyworm doesn't have this feature," he says, "And
the head capsule is a lighter brown." Troxclair adds that if the worms
are feeding during the day, they're probably fall armyworms.
"There are different ways to manage these two species," he says. "If a
producer has armyworms in a hayfield, it may be possible to mow and let
it dry down. And if there are livestock, the producer can run those
animals in the affected area to eat the grass before the armyworms get
to it. But these methods require close monitoring to ensure any
surviving larvae don't prevent grass regrowth."
Troxclair says chemical control can be effective. "The products
typically licensed for use on these two species have malathion, carbaryl
or methomyl as their active ingredient," he points out. "While some
insect control can be achieved by non-chemical means, pesticides like
these provide a more effective and broader control of these pests.
However, it's a good idea for producers to determine the extent of
infestation and compare that with the cost of treatment to help
determine which way to go."
Contact Troxclair at 830-278-9151.
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
California's Lake County Record-Bee reports that
a proposed ordinance to place a moratorium on the planting of
genetically engineered alfalfa was defeated in a vote by the county's
board of supervisors last week. In a three-to-two decision, supervisors
voted against adopting the ordinance, authored by the Lake County
Coalition for Responsible Agriculture, to enforce a 30-month waiting
period before Roundup Ready alfalfa could be planted in the county.
According to the newspaper, while the ordinance had strictly addressed
the issue of Roundup Ready alfalfa as the target of a 30-month
fact-finding moratorium, opponents had consistently argued that it was
simply the first salvo in an effort to ban all genetically modified
organisms (GMOs) from the county.
Meanwhile, Sonoma County, CA, voters will consider a county-wide ballot
measure this November that would ban GMOs for 10 years, according to the
Argus-Courier Online. Called Measure M, it's supported by a group
called GE-Free Sonoma and the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center.
Supporters say Measure M is needed as a time-out so scientists,
researchers and farmers can learn more about the effects of genetically
engineered seeds on local agriculture.
Iowa Auction Report
The Oct. 12 Dyersville Hay Auction had light offerings
with excellent demand, according to Dale Leslein, manager. "We had a lot
of dairy hay buyers pushing the top-end hay sharply higher," Leslein
notes. Large square bales of supreme hay sold for $155/ton delivered,
with premium large square bales selling for $102.50 to $135/ton. Good
hay sold for $72.50 to $85/ton in large square bales, $70 to $82.50/ton
in large round bales. Large square bales of fair hay sold for $55 to
$67.50/ton, with round bales of fair hay selling for $55 to $65/ton. A
total of 216 tons of hay were sold. The next hay auction at the
Dyersville Sales Company will begin at 11 a.m., Oct. 19.
Leslein says the last cutting is still not finished in the Dyersville
area as weather has been terrible for baling. Since Oct. 1, trying to
finish the last cutting of hay in parts of Iowa has been a nightmare.
"Every day a heavy dew, almost like a rain, hangs around until early
afternoon," says Leslein. "By 6 p.m. the sun starts down and you're
done. A few hours of drying each day is all we're getting. Farmers have
raked, inverted and tedded, but have not had any luck getting it dry.
Some hay has been down going on three weeks." The soybean harvest is
wrapping up and corn harvest is in full swing in the Dyersville area, he
Contact Leslein at 563-875-2481, 563-588-0657 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hay demand is expected to be very good going into
winter in Manitoba, according to Carolyn MacKendrick, executive
director, Manitoba Forage Council. Much of the province experienced a
wet summer, making harvest difficult. "Some parts of the province got no
cuttings at all, while other areas were delayed," says Jane Thornton,
forage and pasture specialist with Manitoba Agriculture & Food's
southwest region. "However, recent good weather has given producers the
chance to put up high-quality, third-cut alfalfa. There is lots of beef
cow hay on-hand, and below-average volumes of dairy-quality hay."
Thornton expects hay acres may be down next year as many areas were
flooded and some stands may be too thin to keep. "We may see a lot of
reseeding next year," she states.
MacKendrick and Thornton recently returned from the World Dairy Expo.
The Manitoba Forage Council takes producer-members and provincial hay
and forage experts to the expo each year to act as ambassadors on behalf
of Manitoba hay producers. "We attend that show to promote Manitoba
hay," says MacKendrick. "There is a direct trade route for our hay into
states such as Wisconsin, for example. We also take hay producers to the
Midwest Horse Fair held in Madison, WI, each spring."
Learn more about the Manitoba Forage Council by visiting www.mbforagecouncil.mb.ca, or call MacKendrick at
204-482-6315. Reach Thornton at 204-726-6409 or email@example.com.
Stung by the rising costs of fuel and other operating
expenses, Lower Rio Grande Valley farmers and ranchers may find some
relief from a free soil-testing campaign sponsored by Texas Cooperative
Extension. Producers can obtain soil sampling kits from their county
extension offices and return their samples for shipment to the Texas A&M
Soil Testing Laboratory in College Station. The analysis is also free
and results are mailed directly to the grower. The free soil-testing
campaign runs until Dec. 31. "The results of the soil test will tell a
grower exactly what nutrients are in the soil so that he pays only for
the nutrients that are needed to meet his yield goals," says Brad Cowan,
an extension agent in Hidalgo County. "It just makes good sense to know
the nutrient makeup of your soil before you add more nutrients."
Contact Cowan at 956-383-1026 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The biggest ideas in haying equipment
come from New Holland. Like the BW Series self-propelled automatic bale
wagon, featuring a new five-speed automatic transmission that provides
excellent speed matching ability. Choose a slower ground speed in
high-density crops, or fifth gear overdrive for no-load road speed. To
learn more, see your local New Holland dealer or call 1-888-290-7377. www.newholland.com/h4/
**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 visit email@example.com.
**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. 7-8 -- Manitoba Grazing School, Keystone Centre, Brandon.
Contact Marc Boulanger, Manitoba Agriculture, at 204-889-5699.
**Dec 12-14 -- California Alfalfa & Forage Symposium and Trade
Show, Visalia. Learn more at alfalfa.ucdavis.edu or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
**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 email@example.com, or call 505-626-5677 or
**Jan. 25-26 -- Heart of America Grazing Conference, Cave City,
KY. Call 270-365-7541.
**Jan. 31- Feb. 1 -- Midwest Forage Association 2006 Symposium and
Annual Meeting, Stoney Creek Inn, Mosinee, WI. Call MFA at
**Feb. 3 -- Northern Indiana Grazing Conference, Shipshewana.
Call 260-463-3471, ext. 3.
**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/.
**March 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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