Drought Hits Nebraska, South Dakota
Extremely dry conditions are causing anxiety among
cattle producers in Nebraska and South Dakota. Many areas in western and
central Nebraska are again facing severe drought. But this year's
drought is different from the previous ones and may force livestock
producers to make some hard feeding decisions, says Bruce Anderson,
University of Nebraska extension forage specialist. Hay is running
between $80 and $100/ton, so the economics of producers feeding their
way out of drought have changed dramatically. Before, producers could
find hay for $30, $40 or at most, $60/ton. Grain prices are also up.
"Can you really afford to feed all your cows until next spring?"
Anderson asks. "And how much rain will you have by then? Given these
factors, it may be time for livestock producers to make some tough
Anderson says this year's drought has affected Nebraska's pastures and
crops much earlier than most other years. "Cool-season grasses are
virtually done growing for the year; even with good rainfall they will
no longer produce like they would have if moisture had been available
during spring," he states. "Warm-season grasses still can respond well
with decent rainfall in June, but if significant rains are delayed until
mid-July, these grasses will have little ability to grow."
In central South Dakota, more cattle than usual are heading to sale
barns. The Red River Farm Network reports that drought is forcing
cow-calf producers to sell off some of their herds. More than 1,000
pairs and 1,000 summer- and fall-calving cows sold in last week's sale
at the Fort Pierre Livestock Auction. Officials say a lack of pasture is
also bringing a large run of feeder cattle to market for this week's
The U.S. Drought Monitor has confirmed that part of north-central South
Dakota is in a severe drought--a D2 designation on its drought scale.
The drought monitor ranks droughts in severity from D0, abnormally dry,
to D4, exceptional drought. In addition to the South Dakota counties in
severe drought, a broad strip of the state's middle region is classified
as being either abnormally dry or in moderate drought.
"Along with our day-to-day chores, we have to worry if our cattle will
have enough feed and water to make it through the upcoming hot summer
months," says Mike Stahly, South Dakota Cattlemen's Association
Source: University of Nebraska Crop Watch newsletter, Red River Farm Net
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Enter Southeastern Hay Contest
By John Andrae, Clemson University Extension
County agents and forage specialists from the
land-grant universities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina,
in conjunction with the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition, have organized
the Third Annual Southeastern Hay Contest. The show will be held at the
Sunbelt Ag Exposition in Moultrie, GA, Oct. 17-19. In addition to the
forage quality contest, there will be educational programs on producing
quality hay and forage. The winning entries will be on display at the
Sunbelt Ag Expo in the beef pavilion.
The contest will have eight categories (warm- and cool-season grass hay,
legume hay, mixed hay, and grass and legume baleage) It's open to any
hay producer from Louisiana eastward to Virginia who wants to enter, but
entries must be submitted by the farm where the forage was grown. Hay
samples, entry fees ($10 per sample) and an entry form must be received
by Sept. 22. Print out the contest rules and entry form at
or at www.alabamaforages.com.
Weevils are actively feeding in southeastern Michigan
alfalfa fields. Potato leafhoppers are present and will need to be
watched for the second and subsequent cuttings. Potato leafhoppers also
made their expected return to southwestern parts of the state over
Memorial Day weekend. Their numbers are expected to increase, so growers
are urged to watch regrowth alfalfa very carefully. The treatment
threshold for 0 to 3" alfalfa is 0.2 leafhopper per sweep. Harvest is
moving along around rain showers, and the earliest harvested fields are
approaching second cutting already.
Alfalfa weevil damage is severe in some west-central Michigan fields.
Meanwhile, most growers are opting for cutting vs. spraying in central
Michigan, hoping weather will allow for a speedy completion because
alfalfa weevils are taking a toll on quality and yield. Michigan State
University entomologists have seen second cutting fields over threshold.
The potato leafhoppers are also present in most fields at low levels.
Source: Michigan State University
Alfalfa weevil adults have prevented regrowth in a
number of fields in the Hartington area in Cedar County and needed to be
sprayed last week, according to Keith Jarvi, University of Nebraska
entomologist. On June 8, Jarvi scouted seven fields with a local farmer.
The combination of weevil feeding and lack of rain kept a large
proportion of three fields brown. In addition to causing moisture stress
on the plants, the lack of rainfall reduces the incidence of a fungal
disease that often decimates weevil populations. Almost all regrowth
problems after first cutting are associated with below-normal rainfall,
Jarvi reports. Weevil feeding may still occur for seven or more
After hay removal, producers should examine the stubble in several areas
to determine if adults are present and feeding. Adult weevils are about
3/8" long and light brown with a darker brown stripe halfway down the
back. They have a rigid, curved snout with tiny chewing mouthparts.
Generally, if green-up isn't under way in three to five days, especially
following rain, there is a good chance insects may be involved, says
Jarvi. Variegated cutworms and clover leaf weevils also may be present,
contributing to feeding damage. Once adult weevils are finished feeding,
they enter a summer "estivation" period when they become inactive and
cause no further damage.
Any one of several insecticides can be used to control alfalfa weevil
adults when treatment is justified. Chemical control may be adversely
influenced by weather, non-uniform or inadequate coverage, and poor
choice of insecticides. To evaluate the effectiveness of chemical
controls, Jarvi urges growers to carefully examine new growth several
days after treatment.
Potato leafhoppers have also arrived and are seriously injuring alfalfa
in many parts of Nebraska.
Source: University of Nebraska.
Central Oregon hay growers have been having problems
with winter grain mites and clover mites. "There is not an EPA-approved
herbicide that helps combat clover mites," says Mylen Bohle, Oregon
State University area extension crops agent. The mites attack
orchardgrass and timothy hay fields. Cereal leaf beetles are proving to
be a problem in Oregon as well. "We are working on getting two
parasitoid wasps (Anaphes and T. Julius) released," Bohle says. Black
grass bugs have moved into wheat fields. "Black grass bugs are usually a
problem in grass pastures or range, but have moved into wheat fields
this spring in central and north-central Oregon as well," he points
Contact Bohle at 541-447-6228.
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Most of southern and parts of northern Alabama are dry,
while rains in other parts of the state have made haying difficult, says
Don Ball, extension agronomist at Auburn University. "We've gotten off
to a bad start in some areas," he reports. Early dry conditions gave
tall fescue a bit of a rough start in the northern part of the state.
And cool temperatures at night during late May could have an impact on
Contact Ball at 334-844-5491.
Oregon hay growers had to contend with rain storms and
scattered showers during the last few weeks, when they wanted to be
harvesting hay, according to Mylen Bohle, Oregon State University area
extension crops agent. High nitrogen costs have motivated some growers
to take out orchardgrass fields and put in alfalfa to help reduce input
costs. "This may cause prices to go up for grass hay--less supply
possibly," says Bohle. He expected alfalfa yields to be lower because of
cooler weather this spring and early summer, but first cutting was
delayed, which may offset that. Hay quality may be lower due to the wet
weather and a much later harvest date. "This should be a good hay year,
price-wise, for producers," he states. "The grass hay market has been
strong, with lots of demand. Some orchardgrass hay was selling for
$170/ton when there was just about no grass hay to be found locally. The
horse market is continuing to increase in central Oregon. The dairy cow
population is slowly rising, too, with some new dairies expanding in the
Because of increasing hay production costs, Bohle says some growers are
stretching out alfalfa and grass stands. "People are seeding
orchardgrass into alfalfa stands," Bohle says. "The high cost of
nitrogen may mean we see more mixed stands of alfalfa and grasses. How
much of this we see will ultimately depend on what the producer's
clientele wants to buy." A couple of fields of Roundup Ready alfalfa
have been seeded in central Oregon, and Bohle says more growers are
investigating putting in Roundup Ready stands. "I advise producers to
make sure they've got a good herbicide rotation program going through
the life of the stand." he notes.
The last two years have brought tremendous vole problems in grass hay
and alfalfa fields. "Lots of snow cover last winter gave the voles
plenty of cover," he says.
Contact Bohle at 541-447-6228.
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makes your job of moving and stacking bales faster and more comfortable
than ever, featuring a redesigned cab on the BW28 or BW38. Get ready to
clear fields with speed and ease. To learn more, see your local New
Holland dealer or call 1-888-290-7377. www.newholland.com/h4/
Ohio State Hay Day Is June 17
Ohio State University's upcoming Hay Day will feature
all that's new in hay-related science and technology. "This year's
program will give you a chance to see and compare the latest forage
harvesting equipment, working side by side," says Daryl Clark, Ohio
State extension educator from Noble County. "And it will give you the
chance to talk to company representatives one on one."
Field demonstrations begin at 9:30 a.m. and will include mowing,
tedding, raking, baling of dry hay and wrapping of baleage.
Presentations will include "Harvesting Quality Forages" by Clif Little,
Guernsey County extension educator, and "Secrets of Making Quality
Baleage" by Bill Weiss, animal scientist.
The event takes place June 17 at the Ohio Agricultural Research and
Development Center's Eastern Agricultural Research Station, 16870
Township Road 126, Belle Valley, OH. It's free, with registration
beginning at 9 a.m. For more information, contact Clark at 740-732-5681
**June 12-15 -- Lost River Grazing Academy,
Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension and Education Center north of
Salmon, ID. Program cost: $450/person. Management teams pay $450 for the
first member and $225 for each additional. Local participants can
register for the daylight part of the program for $125/day. To register,
call Jim Hawkins at 208-879-2344 or toll-free 877-854-9386.
**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, call 765-496-3755 or email email@example.com.
**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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
**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. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Refreshments, lunch
and packet included in $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 email@example.com, or Glenn
Shewmaker at 208-736-3608 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
**Jan. 18-19 -- Southwest Hay Conference, Ruidoso Convention
Center, Ruidoso, New Mexico. Contact Doug Whitney at email@example.com, 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.
**Feb. 28-March 2 -- National Grassfed Beef Conference,
Grantville, PA. Contact John Comerford at 814-863-3661 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dave Hartman at
570-784-6660, ext. 12, or email@example.com.
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