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 Hay & Forage
 USDA Hay Prices
 A Primedia Property December 20, 2005 |  
Roundup Ready Test Kits Are Available For Hay, Seed
Top of the News Wisconsin Web Site Will Continue Linking Feed Buyers And Sellers
State Reports Arizona Iowa Missouri South Carolina Washington
Events Illinois And Wisconsin Event Scheduled For Feb. 25 Happy Holidays! Calendar
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This Week's USDA Hay Prices by State

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Roundup Ready Test Kits Are Available For Hay, Seed
Two companies recently began marketing test kits to help hay producers, processors and exporters check for the presence of Roundup Ready genetic material in alfalfa seed and hay samples. Preliminary results of ongoing research at the University of California, Washington State University and at Forage Genetics in Idaho indicate kits seem to reliably detect the presence of 5% or greater Roundup Ready alfalfa hay in a test sample. The kits are being marketed by Strategic Diagnostics, Inc., and EnviroLogix.

They could be particularly helpful to hay growers who target the export market. Most export customers in Japan, for example, have indicated a strong preference for non-genetically modified hay. Because of this desire to prevent any risk of transferring Roundup Ready genes into the supply of hay for the export market, the Washington State Hay Growers Association has asked Monsanto and Forage Genetics not to release Roundup Ready alfalfa seed for sale into the state until export customers indicate market acceptance of genetically modified hay. Consequently, there was no Roundup Ready seed sold to the state's growers in 2005.

"As much as 50% of all the Columbia Basin's alfalfa, and almost all of the timothy produced here, is exported," says Tim Woodward, Washington State University extension agronomist at Pasco. "It's estimated that over 80% of the growers in the Columbia Basin in Washington will export at least one of their hay harvests per year. Some growers are completely dependent on the export market. A hay processor and exporter will need to know if there is a tolerance level for the Roundup Ready gene." So far, most exporters are hearing a zero-tolerance level for Roundup Ready hay from their Japanese customers. As Woodward points out, customer demand could change, but in the short-term it would be helpful for growers to have some way to prove that they had Roundup Ready-free hay, and the new test kits may be a good solution. "If a grower or exporter shows a positive test for the Roundup Ready gene in his hay, it would indicate to him that he should not send it over to Japan," he states.

Woodward, Dan Putnam, University of California extension forage specialist, and Forage Genetics' Peter Reisen have been studying the accuracy of the new tests on core samples taken from stacked alfalfa hay. "The research is geared around the notion that a hay sample testing at less than 5% Roundup Ready would be considered non-GMO by the Japanese government," Woodward explains. "The studies we have conducted so far show the tests detect adventitious presence of the Roundup Ready gene in hay at 5% or greater levels. The test kits cost in the neighborhood of $4 to $8 per test."

Contact Woodward at 509-545-3511. Learn more about the new Roundup Ready alfalfa test kits from EnviroLogix at, or from Strategic Diagnostics, Inc. at

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Top of the News
Wisconsin Web Site Will Continue Linking Feed Buyers And Sellers
A University of Wisconsin (UW) Web site will continue to help livestock producers find sources of feed until April 1. The Farmer-to-Farmer Hay, Forage and Corn List was developed by the UW extension grains team. Its initial run was scheduled to end Dec. 1, but producer requests have led to a decision to continue the site, which is free of charge for both buyers and sellers.

Many area livestock producers may find themselves short on hay and other feed because of losses to alfalfa winterkill last winter and abnormally dry weather this summer, explains Mike Ballweg, extension crops and soils agent in Sheboygan County. "Some parts of the state, especially in eastern Wisconsin, have shortages," Ballweg says. "However, other parts of the state have good supplies because they weren't affected by winterkill or lack of rain. This year, people who need to buy hay may be able to find it without searching out of state." Ballweg says there are currently about 70 hay listings on the site that may serve as contacts for feed supplies over the winter months.

The Web site is at

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State Reports
The hay marketing season seems to be going well in southwestern Arizona, reports Barry Tickes, area extension agent, Yuma. "There is very little hay carried over," he notes. "The irrigation water situation is on people's minds in Arizona." Growers just over the border in Blythe, CA, have sold one-third of their water to metropolitan water users in California. "They were offered a good price and most took advantage of it," Tickes says. Irrigation water issues and diminishing agricultural land continue to be a concern as urban development grows, both in California and central Arizona.

Contact Tickes at 928-580-9902.

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A lot of hay has been coming to the Fort Atkinson Hay Auction, says Bob Humpal, owner and auctioneer. Many Iowa hay producers had a good year. "We've got lots of hay around here," Humpal says. "Many producers made five cuttings of hay this year, which is unheard of. Normally we get about three cuttings. We have a lot of fair hay because a lot of hay got rained on. We had a dry July and then a lot of moisture later. We had bumper corn and bean crops, too. Even old-timers say it's the best they've seen it."

In round bales, good-to-choice hay is bringing $70-80/ton; grinding or fair hay, $40-50/ton. Choice small square bales are selling for $100-125/ton; fair-to-good small squares, for $70-85/ton. Fair-to-good hay in 3 x 3 x 8' square bales is selling for $65-80/ton. Supreme hay is selling for $90-125/ton. "Our market as an average is about $20/ton lower this year than it has been in previous years due to the surplus of hay," Humpal says.

There is a big demand for wheat straw, but not much seems to be available. Humpal says wheat straw has been selling for $80-90/ton. Big square bales of oat straw are selling for $60-80/ton. Small square straw bales were selling for around $125/ton for a month or so, but now prices are down to $85/ton.

"I think all the snow we're having in the area is going to add one to two extra months to the feeding season and stock cows won't be able to go on cornstalks like they usually do," he states. There is around a foot of snow on the ground in the Fort Atkinson area. Dairy hay availability has not been a problem so far this year. "There is choice hay out there, but people are holding off selling it until March," Humpal says.

Hay has been coming to the Fort Atkinson auction from all parts of Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Auctions are held every Wednesday at 1 p.m. Call Humpal at 563-534-7513, or visit the Fort Atkinson Hay Auction Web site at

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Missouri alfalfa producers may be able to obtain Roundup Ready alfalfa seed for use this coming spring, said University of Missouri weed specialists Kevin Bradley and Andy Kendig. They reported in the recent issue of the University of Missouri Integrated Pest and Crop Management Newsletter that the cost of Roundup Ready technology may be hard for smaller-acreage hay producers to justify. The technology fee for a 50-lb bag of seed will be approximately $125, or $2.50/lb. "This price does not include the cost of the seed itself; this is the technology fee only," Bradley and Kendig reported.

The scientists feel Roundup Ready alfalfa could prove useful for spring establishment of alfalfa and for the control of troublesome weeds like curly dock, which are difficult to eliminate with current herbicide options. "As we continue to conduct our research trials with Roundup Ready alfalfa, the economic utility of this system vs. conventional alfalfa production systems will become a more important component of our investigation," Bradley and Kendig said.

They also reported that Milestone herbicide from Dow AgroSciences will be available for use on grass pastures and hay in 2006. Milestone contains a new active ingredient, aminopyralid, a growth-regulator. The new herbicide may be applied at rates ranging from 3 to 7 fluid ounces/acre, and will control a variety of annual broadleaf weeds. It's also particularly effective on species like musk, bull and Canada thistle, and provides good control of bull or horse nettle and spotted knapweed, which has become more of a problem in parts of southwestern Missouri. Milestone is registered as a non-restricted-use pesticide, and it has no grazing or haying restrictions that must be maintained after application, according to Bradley and Kendig. "These characteristics of Milestone may help to fill a need for certain pasture and hay producers in Missouri," they said. "The 4-fluid-ounce rate of Milestone is expected to cost between $11 and $12/acre."

Contact Bradley at 573-882-4039, or Kendig at 573-379-4031.

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South Carolina
The South Carolina National Guard has agreed to supply a convoy of tractor-trailers to transport hay and supplies to hurricane-stricken Southern states, according to the Myrtle Beach publication. Several South Carolina hay producers and cattlemen have already sent hay and supplies to hard-hit areas, but transportation was needed in order to send more, according to officials at the South Carolina Department of Agriculture.

Source: Myrtle Beach

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This year has gone quite well for hay producers in parts of Washington state, says Tim Woodward, Washington State University extension agent at Pasco. "I think we're pretty much out of high-quality dairy hay," he says. "There is still some feeder hay around, and you may still see some stacks that have been spoken for by the export market. It's also really hard to find any timothy hay in the area right now." Woodward expects there may be more timothy acres planted next year in order to help supply growing demand from Pacific Rim countries.

He says the biggest issue concerning hay growers in his area is Roundup Ready alfalfa. At grower request, there was no Roundup Ready seed released in Washington in 2005. "The growers around here would like to see Forage Genetics and Monsanto continue to keep Roundup Ready alfalfa out of Washington into 2006," Woodward says. "County commissioners in the area decided to write a letter to Washington's governor asking for her help in keeping Roundup Ready alfalfa out of the state. As far as I know there has not been any response from the governor."

At a recent Washington State Hay Growers Association meeting, the membership decided to pursue legislative action to try to delay the arrival of Roundup Ready alfalfa until there is market acceptance of the technology among export customers. "The majority of Japanese hay customers have said they don't want their hay to have any genetically modified organisms," Woodward explains. "So exporters and processors have put into their contracts that they will not accept Roundup Ready in their hay." Woodward points out that export customer opinion may change over time, but in the meantime Washington growers are concerned about protecting their export markets. (For more information, see our lead story on Roundup Ready test kits.)

Aphid problems seem to be increasing in parts of Washington, and cowpea aphids actually reached an economic threshold and producers had to spray this year, which is unusual for the state. "This used to be a warm-season aphid and it didn't do much damage on alfalfa, but it seems to have spread throughout the U.S. and has been known to have occurred in three provinces in Canada," Woodward says.

Learn more about Washington hay production at the Washington State Hay Growers Association Web site at Contact Woodward at 509-545-3511.

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Illinois And Wisconsin Event Scheduled For Feb. 25
The Bi-State Forage Institute: Focus On Hay will be held Saturday, Feb. 25, in Harvard, IL, and will target hay buyers and sellers from Illinois and Wisconsin. The day-long program will focus on hay storage and production. The Illinois Forage and Grassland Council will conduct its annual meeting in conjunction with the Forage Institute.

Kevin Kline, University of Illinois extension equine specialist, and Liv Sandberg, University of Wisconsin equine specialist, will focus on nutritional needs of horses during a presentation from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Other topics to be covered include: Managing Hay Risk with Hay Additives; Don't Risk Poor Hay: Store It Right; Making, Selling and Buying Hay; and Understanding Hay Sampling.

The program will be held at the Stratford from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The early registration fee is $20 for adults and $10 for youths ages 18 and under. Early registration must be postmarked by Feb. 17. Registration after Feb. 17 is $30 for adults or $20 for youths. Lunch will be included with the registration fee.

Contact University of Illinois Extension Lake County Office, 100 South U.S. Highway 45, Grayslake, IL 60030, or call 847-223-8627.

The program is being organized and sponsored by the University of Illinois and Wisconsin Extension Systems, Risk Management Agency, Horsemen's Council of Illinois, the Illinois Forage and Grassland Council, the Illinois Grassland Conservation Initiative and the Midwest Forage Association.

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Happy Holidays!
The staff of eHay Weekly wishes you and yours health and wealth this holiday season. Watch for our next issue the first week of January.

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**Jan. 7- 22 -- National Western Stock Show, National Western Complex, Denver. Learn more at

**Jan. 18 -- Tri-State Hay and Pasture Conference, Garret College, McHenry, MD. Call 301-334-6960 for registration information. Learn more at

**Jan. 19 -- Southern Maryland Hay and Pasture Conference, Isaac Walton League Outdoor Education Center, Waldorf. Call 301-475-4484 for more information or visit

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

**Jan. 19 - 20 -- Delmarva Hay and Pasture Conference, Delaware State Fairgrounds, Harrington, DE. Contact Richard Taylor at, or 302-831-1383, or visit

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

**Jan. 21 -- Winter Grazing of Tall Fescue Pasture Walk, Wye Research and Education Center, Wye Angus Facility, Queenstown, MD. Learn more at

**Jan. 24 -- Central Maryland Hay and Pasture Conference, Carroll County Agricultural Center, Westminster, MD. Contact Doug Tregoning at or call 301-590-2809 for more information.

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

**Jan. 31- Feb. 1 -- Midwest Forage Association 2006 Symposium and Annual Meeting, Stoney Creek Inn, Mosinee, WI. Call MFA at 651-484-3888.

**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. 7-9 -- Producing Cash Hay for Virginia's Equine Industry Workshops, Feb. 7-Armory in Chatham; Feb. 8 -- Southern Piedmont Research Station, Blackstone; Feb. 9- Tidewater Research Station, Suffolk. Registration for each will begin at 8 a.m. and the programs will end at 3:30 p.m. Early registration deadline is Jan. 27. Contact Chris Teutsch at, or call 434-0292-5331, ext. 234.

**Feb. 14-16 -- World Ag Expo, Tulare, CA. Learn more at

**Feb. 22-23 -- Pennsylvania Hay and Silage Conference, Holiday Inn, Grantville, PA. Contact Lisa Crytser for more information at 814-865-2543.

**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

**March 10-14 -- 2006 American Forage and Grassland Council Conference, Westin Riverwalk Hotel, San Antonio, TX. Learn more at, 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.

**April 21-23 -- Midwest Horse Fair, Alliant Energy Center, Madison, WI. Learn more at

**April 28-30 -- Minnesota Horse Expo, Minnesota State Fairgrounds, St. Paul, MN. Learn more at

**Sept. 7-9 -- National Hay Association 111th Annual Convention, Snow King Resort, Jackson Hole, WY.

**Oct. 3-7 -- World Dairy Expo, Alliant Energy Center, Madison, WI. Learn more at

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Comments from Readers
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Lora Berg, Editor, eHay Weekly,

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