What's In The Hay?
No matter how high the quality of your hay may be, if a
customer finds foreign material such as metal pieces, machinery parts or
dead animals inside a bale, your reputation could be harmed. Rollie
Bernth, Ward Rugh, Inc., Ellensburg, WA, passed that message along in a
recent issue of the National Hay Association's Hay There
newsletter. "It's amazing what can be hidden inside a bale of hay," he
says. "In many cases, the item or items cannot be seen from the exterior
of the bale. These items can create real problems for the end user as
well as the processor. For the end user, of course, there's the
possibility an animal may try to eat an item and cause injury or death."
Speaking from a processor's perspective, Bernth says foreign material in
bales can cause extensive damage to hay compressing equipment. Exporters
have cause for concern as well. "If you are an exporter, you are very
concerned about animal parts," Bernth notes. "As long as mad cow disease
exists, we will need to be very cautious about sending any hay (for
export) that would contain any animal protein or bone material."
He urges growers to be aware of machinery that may be losing parts while
swathing, raking, baling and stacking. Try to find parts before they are
part of a hay bale. "When swathing, be watchful of any animals that may
have gotten in the way and remove them before the baling process
begins," he adds.
Bernth, a member of NHA's board of directors, can be reached at
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Feed List Helps Drought-Stricken North
Drought conditions in south-central North Dakota have
many livestock producers in need of additional forage. Farmers and
ranchers who have forage for sale can list it on a North Dakota State
University (NDSU) database designed to help feed sellers and buyers
connect. Producers also may use this service to list pasture they have
available for rent.
Feedlist, accessible on the Web at www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/feedlist/, is an easy-to-use
database showing what each seller has to sell, storage method (large
round bales, small bales, etc.) and contact information. Prospective
buyers check the Web site, select what they want to buy and contact
prospective sellers to do a deal. There is no charge to buyer or seller.
Feedlist has been available during feed shortages since the late 1970s.
"People sometimes forget that this isn't just truckloads of hay," says
Greg Lardy, NDSU extension beef specialist. "Rental pastures, custom
feeding and other feed sources are welcome and encouraged on the list."
Surrounding states have similar services and are linked to NDSU's
with Droughts" Web page at www.ag.ndsu.edu/drought/.
Contact Lardy at 701-231-7660 or email@example.com.
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Nebraska growers could be putting blame in the wrong
place if alfalfa fields aren't doing well. While much of the state is
experiencing drought conditions, potato leafhoppers and alfalfa weevils
might be the main factor behind poor alfalfa growth in some areas. "The
severity of their impact is just greater during dry years," says Bruce
Anderson, University of Nebraska forage specialist.
"Right now, we don't know how severe the damage is going to be," says
Anderson. Because leafhoppers are migratory, their arrival is dependent
on winds from the Southeast. Some have already arrived, but early summer
is a typical time of year for growers to begin seeing leafhopper damage,
Alfalfa weevils also are preventing regrowth in a number of fields,
reports Keith Jarvi, integrated pest management specialist at the
university's Northeast Research and Extension Center at Norfolk. Not
only has the lack of rainfall stressed alfalfa, so has the reduced
presence of a fungal disease that reduces weevil populations, he says.
"We've already seen some damage on regrowth from the adults," Anderson
adds. "Growers just aren't recognizing it because conditions have been
After the first alfalfa harvest, adult weevils feed on emerging shoots.
If fields don't green up three to five days following harvest, there is
a good chance insects are involved. "It takes close examination because
weevils are so small. Adult weevils like to hide under plant litter and
dead material, especially during the heat of the day," Anderson says.
The key to preventing serious damage is to scout fields regularly to
detect pests early and spray an insecticide while they are still present
and before irreversible damage has been done.
If leafhoppers have stunted growth, Anderson suggests removing poisoned
plant tissue to stimulate new growth before applying insecticide. Mow
new seedlings and then spray, if necessary, he says.
As with any chemical, be sure to follow instructions, restrictions and
precautions, Jarvi adds. Remember to examine new growth following
treatment because factors including weather, non-uniform or inadequate
chemical application and poor choice of insecticide may adversely affect
Besides insects, the big problem facing alfalfa growers this season is
lack of moisture. "Producers have to realize there isn't a whole lot
they can do. If yields aren't going to reach expected levels, they
should begin thinking about other sources for hay," Anderson says.
Source: University of Nebraska.
Potato leafhoppers have been in Ohio for several weeks.
Ohio State University entomologists say it's time to start sweeping
alfalfa for leafhopper adults and nymphs in the second cutting. New
seedings should also be checked, since they cannot take as much damage
as older stands. Using a standard sweep net, take several 10-sweep
samples randomly across the field, counting the number of leafhoppers in
each sample. Treatment is based on the number of adults and nymphs found
vs. the height of the alfalfa. Ohio State entomologists say treatment is
warranted if the number of leafhoppers in 10 sweeps equals or exceeds
the height of the alfalfa in inches. For example, eight leafhoppers in
10 sweeps in 6" alfalfa would justify treatment.
Source: Ohio State University.
The first alfalfa cutting is mostly finished in
southeastern Michigan, and rains have really helped the regrowth. Potato
leafhoppers have not been a problem. First-cutting sales have been good
despite there being plenty of hay available.
The first cutting is generally complete in west-central Michigan. Many
growers have taken advantage of the recent extended period of dry
weather to get good-quality hay put up. Potato leafhoppers are present
in many fields and should be monitored.
The first cutting is winding down in central Michigan, too. Early cut
fields are 12-16" tall, and the second cutting will begin this week in
some areas. Potato leafhoppers are present in most fields.
The alfalfa crop looks mostly good in the state's thumb region. The
second cutting should be good where the first cutting was made
Source: Michigan State University.
The hay crop is looking really good, but is running
later than normal in parts of New York, reports Scott Brady, Sugar Creek
Farm, Dansville. "We started the spring dry because there was very
little snow this winter," he states. "Then we got some rain, but we had
a cooler-than-normal spring so we are just barely starting to harvest
the first crop." Brady says prices are expected to be steady in the
Contact Sugar Creek Farm at 585-335-8664.
Parts of North Dakota need rain, reports Dennis Brown,
Northern Dakota Alfalfa, Milton. "We had a good, mild winter with lots
of snow cover and we didn't have any winterkill. Then we had a decent
spring," he says. "The crops got off to a nice start and we had a good
first cutting of alfalfa. But if we don't start getting some rain, we
may not have a second or third cutting." Brown says 20 miles west of his
area, water is standing in fields from an over-abundance of rain, but
south-central North Dakota is in an extreme drought.
Brown carried some hay over, so he has good quality and quantity
available. Recently he has noticed demand for hay dropping a bit,
probably, he surmises, because of high fuel prices and lower milk
prices. Most of his hay is sold to dairy producers as far as 600 miles
He grows around 500 acres of alfalfa and has a custom baling business.
The family operation also consists of beef cattle and crops such as
wheat, barley, canola, flax, oats and sunflowers.
Contact Brown at 701-496-3565.
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**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.
**Oct. 17-19 -- Sunbelt Ag Exposition, Moultrie, GA.
**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.
**Feb. 28-March 2 -- National Grassfed Beef Conference,
Grantville, PA. Contact John Comerford at 814-863-3661 or email@example.com, or Dave Hartman at
570-784-6660, ext. 12, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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