Tracking Weather Online
Hay growers who use the Internet to its fullest
advantage can get help with everything from timing irrigation, herbicide
or insecticide applications to diagnosing and assessing crop pests and
crop injury. So says Mark Seeley, University of Minnesota extension
meteorologist and climatologist. Seeley says many National Weather
Service data-stream details, ranging from hourly observations to
forecast updates, can now be found on various Web services. "Much of the
forecast information is now derived from five-kilometer grid analysis,
and is therefore much more locally specific," Seeley explains.
National Weather Service forecasts and real-time radar and satellite
displays are available at www.nws.noaa.gov. This site contains two especially
good features: severe weather watch and warning information and
delineation, and graphical displays of hour-by-hour forecasts out to
seven days, he says.
The University of Kentucky lists precision county-by-county ag forecasts
at wwwagwx.ca.uky.edu/PrecisionForecast.html. "Though
this site duplicates much of the information contained on the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Web site, it is specifically
formatted and tailored to the needs of agriculture, and offers a county
level of detail for each weather element," Seeley explains. A written
narrative forecast, as well as detailed tables and graphs, are some of
this site's strong points. Some elements forecasted include leaf
wetness, livestock heat stress, potential evapotranspiration, crop
spraying conditions, and drying conditions.
The Minnesota Climatology Working Group site hosts hourly, daily,
weekly, monthly and annual climate data, along with a weekly newsletter,
Minnesota WeatherTalk, and other information from the University of
Minnesota Research and Outreach Centers and the National Weather
Service. Visit the site at www.climate.umn.edu. The "Retrieve Historical Data"
section allows users to access real-time hourly observations from the
National Weather Service automated station network. Air temperature,
dewpoint, air pressure, visibility, windchill and heat index can be
mapped and displayed.
For drought information, visit the University of Nebraska Institute of
Agriculture and Natural Resources Drought Resources and Information Web
page at ianrhome.unl.edu/drought/, or the U.S. Drought Monitor
Web site at www.drought.unl.edu/dm/index.html.
But what about your favorite weather sites? Which are a crucial part of
your hay operation? Email us your favorites and we'll share them with
other eHay Weekly readers. Just drop us an email at email@example.com, using
weather in the title subject area.
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Livestock, Dairy Market Outlook Released
Hay growers may be able to market more hay if milk
production and cow numbers continue to increase, as predicted in USDA's
recent Livestock, Dairy & Poultry Outlook.
Milk production for 2007 is estimated at 183.1 billion pounds, up from
182 billion projected for 2006. This year's production is expected to be
2.8% higher than 2005's because cow numbers and output per cow should
increase. Cow numbers will likely expand through the second quarter of
2006, hold steady in the third quarter, and then begin a decline that
will continue through 2007. That decline, however, will be a scant 0.3%.
Lower year-to-year heifer prices this spring may indicate a weakening
demand for replacements, and could lead to more culling by summer's end.
Expected higher feed prices and continued declines in milk prices
throughout 2006 could provide an incentive for smaller operators to
exit. However, exit decisions will likely be delayed until later in the
season, when Milk Income Loss Contract Program payments are assured. The
decline in the all-milk price that began in early 2005 will continue
this year. The all-milk price is expected to average between $12.35 and
$12.85/cwt. for 2006, down from $15.14 in 2005.
If you sell hay to the beef market, you may be interested to hear that
relatively large numbers of heavier feeder cattle have been placed on
feed over the last several months. Feeder cattle supplies outside
feedlots are relatively tight. If recent rains throughout the Great
Plains, especially in the Southern Plains, continue, the outlook for
spring and summer pasture will improve, boosting stocker cattle demand
and improving prices.
Despite increased demand for corn for ethanol, and lower planting
intentions, corn prices are not expected to increase to the point of
significantly affecting feeder cattle placements. Corn prices will move
higher if the new crop is as short as expected due to reduced acreage
and increased demand for ethanol. This could keep downward pressure on
cattle feeding margins through most of 2007. Higher grain prices will be
offset by increasing supplies of distillers' grains. As ethanol
production rises, supplies of wet distillers' grains will likely be
readily available at favorable prices.
Forage prospects continue to be a concern as the grazing season begins.
The first pasture and range conditions release for 2006 indicated the
following states with the proportion of conditions in the
poor-to-very-poor range: Texas at 52%, Oklahoma at 45%, New Mexico at
62%, Colorado at 48% and Arizona at 75%. Recent rains in the Southern
Plains have helped replenish stock ponds and should improve pasture and
range conditions. Conditions in the Southwest continue to be poor, with
only light showers reported.
Improved pasture and range conditions and rebuilt hay stocks will be
important to maintain herd expansion. USDA's May Crop Production report
indicated a sharp draw-down of hay stocks, the result of short 2005 hay
harvests and heavy supplemental feeding in drought areas.
Congressional Hearing To Explore Midwestern Dairy
A congressional hearing on the state of the Midwestern
dairy industry will be held May 31 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the
Kryszko Commons at Winona State University in Winona, MN. Rep. Gil
Gutknect, R-MN, will hear testimony from high-profile dairy industry
representatives, including Kemps CEO James Green and Dana Allen, a
director of the Minnesota Milk Producer's Association. Subsidy and grant
programs, the continuing tension between expanding dairies and townships
and rural landowners, and the future of the Milk Income Loss Program are
likely to be discussed.
Source: Winona Daily News.
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What appears to be an excellent first crop of alfalfa
is awaiting harvest in southwestern Minnesota. Pea aphids are
increasing, but not at threatening levels. Insect predators are abundant
in many fields. Potato leafhoppers have not shown up yet, but University
of Minnesota entomologists speculate that nearby weather events may
bring leafhoppers to the area in time for the second cutting.
Alfalfa growers are urged to be on the lookout for
potato leafhoppers, says Ron Hammond, Ohio State University research
entomologist. "We're getting beyond the concern for alfalfa weevil, but
growers should begin sampling their fields for potato leafhopper," he
states. "The insect could become a problem as alfalfa starts to regrow
anywhere from 3 to 5" after its first cutting. The pest has arrived from
Southern states and we know that it's in apple trees where the first
generation builds up."
For more information on pests that affect field crops, log on to Ohio
State's Agronomic Crops Team Web site at agcrops.osu.edu.
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Hay supplies are tight in Idaho, says Glenn Shewmaker,
University of Idaho extension forage specialist. "I've personally gotten
calls from Florida and California looking mostly for horse hay, and we
don't seem to have any extra in the area," he states. "There are still a
lot of cows in the area, too, and they are using up hay supplies. I have
heard of large increases in (hay) acreage in some cases, but I think it
is just going to keep up with the number of cows. I've heard of one farm
that converted several thousand acres of potatoes, cereal grains and
sugar beets to hay as a cash crop."
He says some producers have experienced clover root curculio damage.
"I've seen clover root curculio reduce some older stands down to where
the stands had to be taken out one to two years earlier than normal,"
Shewmaker reports. "And rodents seem to be everywhere. The ground is
just crawling with voles, ground squirrels and all kinds of rodents. We
had snow cover that protected them the past few winters and there has
been a population boom."
Shewmaker says good winter snow-pack and abundant rainfall mean
irrigation supplies should be more than adequate in Idaho. "We lost a
little more than average acreage due to flooding in some small local
areas," he reports. "Like much of the West, we are probably running one
week to 10 days, or perhaps even two weeks, behind because of cool
temperatures and frosts. We began the season slow, but now we are
tending to get caught up."
Quite a bit of hay had been cut and was laying down as of late last week
and a storm system put an inch of rain on it, he says. "That hay is no
longer dairy quality and wet soil is going to delay cutting the hay that
is still standing for a week or so."
Contact Shewmaker at 208-736-3608 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
High temperatures and winds are scorching a good
portion of western Nebraska's winter wheat crop and pastures, while the
eastern half of the state needs to continue getting timely rains to
avoid going back into a drought, says Al Dutcher, state climatologist at
the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Although the current U.S. Drought
Monitor puts a good portion of eastern and north-central Nebraska out of
the drought, Dutcher says these areas are abnormally dry. Soil moisture
profiles in eastern Nebraska are within 1-1 1/2" of normal, but in
western Nebraska, they're largely depleted.
The above-average Rocky Mountain snow-pack has been depleted. Although
the snow-pack was above normal through March, snow came to a halt in
April. "The lack of significant snowfall during that period, along with
temperatures rising above normal, led to earlier melt and a decrease in
stream flows," says Dutcher. The latest Platte River Valley stream-flow
projections for June through August are for 75-85% of normal projections
issued at the beginning of March.
Warm-season pastures are getting off to a slow start in northeastern
Nebraska's Holt and Boyd counties. Cool-season pastures are short. Many
cattle were placed in pastures with little growth. Alfalfa growth has
slowed to the point that many producers have decided to cut early.
Alfalfa weevils and pea aphids are common in alfalfa fields, but
generally not in economic numbers.
The lack of rain is a major concern in Dawson County in the
south-central part of the state, where this year's total rainfall is
less than 1-2". Some pivot irrigators have irrigated three to four
times. Pastures are said to already look like they usually do around
Aug. 1, and some producers who turned their cattle into pastures in
April are considering pulling them out. The first alfalfa cutting is
proceeding rapidly, with about half of the crop harvested. Much of it
has been baled without rain damage, so the quality is high.
First-cutting yields of all forage crops have been down
significantly across southern Pennsylvania, according to Penn State
University. Prior to harvest, forage supplies were already short due to
the 2005 drought. The potential for limited forage supplies has
increased interest in small-grain silages and summer annual crops.
A cool but dry spring will probably result in
lower-than-normal fescue yields in South Carolina, reports John Andrae,
Clemson University forage specialist. "The first cutting of bermudagrass
is also probably going to be delayed two to three weeks due to the cool
weather," he says. "Last year was an excellent hay year. It rained at
all the right times last summer and we were able to get hay cured and
put up without it getting rained on. Then we had a dry fall and we were
wet in the winter. Now we are probably 12-15" behind normal rainfall for
Contact Andrae at 864-656-3504 or email@example.com.
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Idaho Meeting Focuses On Irrigated
Build your skills in intensive management of irrigated
pastures at the University of Idaho's Lost River Grazing Academy, June
12-15 at the new Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension and Education
Center north of Salmon. Topics will include forage allocation,
low-stress livestock handling, power fencing, pasture evaluation,
nutrient cycling, pasture economics, irrigation management, extending
the grazing season and niche production. Participants will form groups
and put what they've learned into practice.
The hands-on workshop is taught by grazing lands consultant Jim Gerrish,
area rancher Joe Miller, and University of Idaho and Utah State
University extension faculty in forages, economics and veterinary
medicine. Pre-registration is required by June 7.
Co-sponsors include the Butte, Custer and Lemhi Soil and Water
Conservation Districts, USDA Western Region Sustainable Agriculture
Research and Education and USDA's Natural Resources Conservation
The cost of the program is $450 per person. Farmers and ranchers who
register as part of a management team pay $450 for the first team member
and $225 for each additional member. Continental breakfasts, seven meals
and all materials are included. Local participants can register for the
daylight portion of the program for $125 per day. To register, call Jim
Hawkins at 208-879-2344 or toll-free 877-854-9386.
The Alternative Careers for Idaho Farmers program may provide qualified
Idaho ranch and farm operators with up to 100% support to attend the
academy. For more information, contact ACIF program manager Brad Jahn at
**June 3 -- Clemson Beef And Forage Field Day,
Wateree Farms, Rembert, SC, 8:15 a.m.-3 p.m. Call the Sumter County
extension office at 803-773-5561 by May 31 to register and get
**June 14-15 -- Four-State Dairy Nutrition And Management
Conference, Grand River Center, Dubuque, IA. Call Dave Fischer,
618-692-9434, or Leo Timms, 515-294-4522.
**June 15 -- Purdue University Forage Management Workshop, 8
a.m.-4:30 p.m. Registration is $80/person. Registration forms and
workshop brochures are available at www.agry.purdue.edu/dtc/open.htm. For more
information, contact call 765-496-3755 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
**June 21 -- Intergenerational Transfer, New Swing 10 Parlor and
Freestall Tour and Intensive Grazing Pasture Walk, Chris and Angie Neis
Farm, 12433 Loran Road, Mt. Carroll, IL. Jim Morrison, University of
Illinois Extension, will discuss pasture species renovation and
fertility management. Contact Kevin Bernhardt, 608-342-1365.
**June 22 -- Montana Hay Day And Field Research Tour, Montana
State University Central Agricultural Research Center, 2 miles west of
Moccasin. Registration will begin at 9 a.m. and tours at 9:30. A lunch
is scheduled. For more information, contact the center at 406-423-5421,
or David Wichman at 406-423-5421 or email@example.com.
**July 6-8 -- Missouri Dairy Grazing Conference, University of
Missouri Southwest Research Center, Mt. Vernon. Learn more about the
conference and tours at agebb.missouri.edu/dairy/grazing/index.htm. Mail
registration to Missouri Dairy Grazing Conference, University of
Missouri Extension, 700 Main Street, Suite 4, Cassville, MO 65625 or
**July 19 -- Northeast Florida Beef and Forage Group Regional Hay
Field Day, North Florida Research and Education Center, Suwannee
Valley, Live Oak, FL. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Refreshments,
lunch and packet included for $5 registration fee. Call Elena Toro at
386-752-5384 by July 14.
**Sept. 7-9 -- National Hay Association 111th Annual Convention,
Snow King Resort, Jackson Hole, WY. Call 800-707-0014 or visit www.nationalhay.org.
**Sept. 12 -- Kentucky Forage And Grassland Council Field Day,
Dobbs Shady Meadow Farm, Campbell County. Learn more at www.uky.edu/Ag/Forage.
**Oct. 3-7 -- World Dairy Expo, Alliant Energy Center, Madison,
WI. Learn more at www.worlddairyexpo.com.
**Nov. 21 -- Kentucky Grazing Conference, Fayette County
Extension Office, Lexington. Learn more at www.uky.edu/Ag/Forage.
**Dec. 11-13 -- Western Alfalfa & Forage Conference, Reno, NV.
Contact Dan Putnam at 530-752-8982 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Glenn
Shewmaker at 208-736-3608 or email@example.com.
**Jan. 18-19 -- Southwest Hay Conference, Ruidoso Convention
Center, Ruidoso, New Mexico. Contact Doug Whitney at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Gina
Sterrett at 505-626-5677.
**Jan. 24-25 -- Heart Of America Grazing Conference, Holiday Inn,
Mount Vernon, IL. Contact Garry Lacefield at 270-365-7541, ext. 202, or
**Feb. 27 -- Kentucky Alfalfa Conference, Cave City Convention
Center. Learn more at www.uky.edu/Ag/Forage.
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