Mild Winter Could Mean Problems For Midwestern Hay
Temperatures that reached 50 degrees in southern
Wisconsin and northern Indiana and Iowa during January have caused a
potentially dangerous break in dormancy in some alfalfa fields. Alfalfa
grew up to 6" in January in some areas, reports Dan Undersander,
University of Wisconsin forage agronomist. "We have never seen up to 6"
of growth in January and I don't know what that will do," he says. "I'm
not concerned about areas that had less than 2" of growth. The new
varieties with increased winterhardiness can tolerate breaking dormancy
and freezing back once or twice if the plant was healthy going into
Recent cold weather combined with lack of snow across central Wisconsin
and parts of Minnesota could lead to hayfield damage. Undersander says
some areas in southern Minnesota along the Iowa border have had enough
snow cover to protect plants against the most recent cold snap.
Producers should start looking for damage around April 10, assuming snow
is gone. Undersander suggests digging a few plants to see if the top 6"
of the taproot are turgid, or swollen, and white. If so, the plant is
alive at that point. He says producers should continue monitoring fields
until spring growth is about 6" tall.
Learn more about winterkill damage at the University of Wisconsin Forage
Web site at www.uwex.edu/ces/forage. Contact Undersander at
608-263-5070 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Keep Costs In Perspective When Targeting Specific
What is the most economically optimal number of
cuttings a hay producer needs to make in order to maximize profit? Can
you make enough money producing premium-quality hay to justify the added
expense? These are just two of the questions South Dakota State
University extension ag economist Matthew Diersen will explore during
Hay & Forage Grower's Midwest Hay Business Conference and Expo,
March 14-15 in Sioux Falls, SD.
"If you're producing corn, it's easy to plan to be the low-cost corn
producer by minimizing your cost per bushel," Diersen explains. "Or if
you're a luxury goods producer and you're making mink coats or yachts,
you're going to shoot for having everything be top of the line. If
you're a hay producer, you may be able to do that, too. What is the cost
of always shooting for the top, in terms of highest end of the dairy
market or highest end of the horse market? You will likely have a higher
unit cost of production than a producer who is trying to get the most
Diersen will try to quantify the tradeoffs between producing a quality
product while still keeping production costs in line. "You want to have
the mindset of matching your cost to the type of market you are
targeting, while not letting costs get out of line for the sake of being
in one market," he states.
His presentation will begin at 3 p.m., March 14. The conference will be
held at the Ramkota Hotel in Sioux Falls. Learn more by visiting www.hayconference.com, or call 800-722-5334 and ask
for Cindy Kramer.
Hay Conference Offers Two-For-One-Deal
Register for the Midwest Hay Business Conference & Expo
before March 1 and bring another person along at no additional cost.
Registration and payment must be received by March 1 to qualify for this
special offer. Payment is fully refundable if cancellation is received
prior to March 14, the start of the conference.
Call 800-722-5334 and ask for Cindy Kramer for more details.
Lawsuit Challenges Government Approval Of RR
A lawsuit was filed last week in federal court in the
northern district of California challenging USDA with inadequate review
of Roundup Ready alfalfa. Those bringing the lawsuit are asking the
court to reverse the approval of genetically modified alfalfa,
specifically Monsanto's Roundup Ready alfalfa, and want USDA to conduct
an extensive study on its potential effect on the environment.
The suit calls USDA's decision to deregulate the alfalfa a threat to the
livelihood of farmers and a risk to the environment. It contends that
the release of genetically modified alfalfa will ultimately prevent
farmers from growing conventional and organic varieties and will
endanger export markets.
The Center for Food Safety filed the lawsuit on behalf of itself, the
Western Organization of Resource Councils, Dakota Resource Council, the
National Family Farm Coalition, Cornucopia Institute, Sierra Club,
Beyond Pesticides and two individual alfalfa seed producers.
"As a producer of organic alfalfa seed and hay, there will be absolutely
no way I will be able to protect my crop from contamination," says
Blaine Schmaltz, a Rugby, ND, farmer and member of the Dakota Resource
Council. "I market my organic seed and hay to organic dairies and
livestock growers. Currently I do not test my alfalfa, but with the
introduction of genetically modified alfalfa, these products will have
to be tested at both ends, adding barriers and expense." Schmaltz also
exports seeds for organic sprouting under strict, no-genetic-modifying
regulations, and says that business may cease.
The lawsuit also contends that USDA did not address the potential
impacts related to the increased use of Roundup on alfalfa, and did not
address issues related to wild relatives of alfalfa. USDA approved the
release of Roundup Ready alfalfa in June 2005.
Source: Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC). Contact WORC
You can prevent stand loss. You can reduce dry-down time. You can
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do it with Raptor® herbicide. Research trials prove that the
superior performance of Raptor controls grasses and broadleaf weeds,
enabling your alfalfa - and your bottom line - to thrive.
The chemical company.
Always read and follow label directions.
Raptor is a registered trademark of BASF. © 2005 BASF
All Rights Reserved.
Minnesota Auction Report
The Houston County Forage Council Quality-Tested Hay
Sale was held Feb. 10 in Caledonia, MN. Small square bales of 162
relative feed value (RFV), hay sold for $95/ton, while 130-144 RFV small
squares ranged from $87.50 to $105/ton. In large square bales, 144- to
161-RFV hay brought $80-90/ton. Large round bales testing 129-164 RFV
ranged from $50 to $85/ton. Hay testing between 100 and 125 RFV averaged
$68.75/ton, while $52.50 was the average price for hay testing under 100
New Mexico alfalfa producers are considering creating a
state alfalfa commodity commission, says Doug Whitney, a Roswell grower.
Growers who choose to take part would pay an assessment of no more than
$1 per acre each year in order to support the costs associated with
hiring a person to work with legislative issues relating to alfalfa,
according to reports in the El Defensor Chieftain newspaper. An
elected board of directors would oversee the commission. Only those who
grow more than 25 acres of alfalfa would pay a fee, but participation
would remain voluntary.
The process needs approval from New Mexico's alfalfa growers, and a
meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 23, at the Socorro County
Fairgrounds to discuss the proposal. The proposal started when a group
of alfalfa growers turned in a petition to the state's secretary of
agriculture. The petition listed reasons for establishing a commission
and carried 25 signatures. The New Mexico Department of Agriculture will
conduct a series of hearings to help determine the feasibility of the
Contact Whitney at 505-622-8080.
Extremely warm weather has slowed hay sales this winter
and prices have stayed about the same, reports Ronald Adams, owner of
East South Carolina Hay Distribution, Camden. "We had a little cold snap
in December; otherwise it has been a very mild winter," Adams states. He
says much of the East Coast produced good hay in 2005, which has also
contributed to less demand for hay. Adams ships hay in from other areas
and says freight rates have been a challenge. Most of his customers are
in the horse market.
Contact Adams at 803-432-5141.
Looking for a new baler? Look to the
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capacity baling with innovative options such as the CropCutter™
feeding system for shorter particle length, denser bales and more
digestible feed for livestock. To learn more, see your local New Holland
dealer or call 1-888-290-7377. www.newholland.com/h4/
**Feb. 21- 22 -- Central Plains Irrigation
Conference, Comfort Inn, Colby, KS. Learn more at www.oznet.ksu.edu/sdi/REvents/cpia.html.
**Feb. 22-23 -- Pennsylvania Hay and Silage Conference, Holiday
Inn, Grantville. Contact Lisa Crytser at 814-865-2543.
**Feb. 23 -- Kentucky Alfalfa Conference, Lexington. Contact
Garry Lacefield at 270-365-7541, ext. 202.
**Feb. 25 -- Bi-State Forage Institute: Focus on Hay, The
Stratford Inn, Harvard, IL. Call 847-223-8627.
**Feb. 27-28 -- Idaho Hay and Forage Association Meeting, Red
Lion Canyon Springs Hotel, Twin Falls. Learn more at www.idahohay.com/.
**March 4 -- Grass-Finished Meats Seminar, Bloomsburg
Fairgrounds, Bloomsburg, PA. Contact Kris Ribble at 570-784-4401, ext.
111, or Dave Hartman at 570-784-6660, ext. 12. Sponsored by Penn State
Cooperative Extension and Project Grass Northeast.
**March 9 -- Michigan Alfalfa Technology Conference, Lincoln
Center, East Lansing. Visit web1.msue.msu.edu/fis/ (click on "Workshops"),
or contact Richard Leep at 269-506-6196 or email@example.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 Grower.
**March 22-23 -- Manitoba Forage Symposium, MacDon Product
Showcase Building, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Call the Manitoba Forage Council
at 204-322-5427, or visit www.mbforagecouncil.mb.ca/Default.htm.
**April 21-23 -- Midwest Horse Fair, Alliant Energy Center,
Madison, WI. Learn more at www.midwesthorsefair.com.
**April 28-30 -- Minnesota Horse Expo, Minnesota State
Fairgrounds, St. Paul. Learn more at www.mnhorseexpo.org.
**May 25 -- University of Florida Corn Silage And Forage Field
Day, Plant Science Unit, Citra, FL. Contact Jerry Wasdin at
352-392-1120 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or
visit www.animal.ufl.edu. Under "Dairy Cattle," click on
"Corn Silage Field Day."
**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 www.worlddairyexpo.com.
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