Harvested Hay Acreage Up 2%
Growers expect to harvest 62.7 million acres of hay
this year, 2% more than in 2005, according to USDA's June 30 Crop
Acreage report. Harvested acreage of alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures is
forecast at 22.4 million, up fractionally. All other hay is expected to
total 40.3 million acres, up 3% from last year's number. The major
increases in alfalfa hay acres are expected in states from the Great
Basin westward to the Pacific Coast, the central areas of the Great
Plains and Corn Belt, and in Pennsylvania and New York. These increases
are nearly offset by decreases in the northern Great Plains, Southwest,
and western and eastern Corn Belt.
Wisconsin is expecting the largest increase in alfalfa hay acreage, up
100,000, as many growers expect to cut the alfalfa for dry hay instead
of haylage. Additionally, large increases in alfalfa hay acres are
expected in California and New York, both up 60,000 acres. Compared with
2005, the acreage of hay other than alfalfa is expected to increase or
remain unchanged in all but 10 states.
Harvested acreage of other hay is expected to increase by 110,000,
100,000 and 300,000 acres in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, respectively.
Recent drought conditions in these states have left hay stocks at very
low levels, so growers are expecting to harvest as much hay as possible,
despite the current poor quality in some areas. The largest declines are
expected in Montana and South Dakota, down 150,000 and 100,000 acres,
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Improving Yield Of Drought-Stressed
Your ground is dry, no rain is forecast and alfalfa
growth is really slow. Under these conditions, it's unlikely that
alfalfa will regrow much after harvest, so growers probably need to get
as much yield as possible from the current growth. So when should you
University of Nebraska experts suggest first determining if alfalfa is
growing at all. If it seems the alfalfa has stopped growing, and there
is enough to justify harvest, cut right away because waiting means the
crop is going to go downhill. If it's still growing, although slowly,
wait until as much yield as possible has accumulated. This might occur
sooner than you think. Research studies have shown that maximum yield
from any single cutting occurs at or soon after full bloom. But what is
full bloom? You might think it's when all flowers are blooming, with the
field covered in purple. But that's actually later than full bloom. Full
bloom is when virtually every stem has one or more flowers open and
blooming, say the experts. Since most stems usually have several
potential flowers per stem, full bloom and maximum yield occur while
many potential flowers have still not bloomed.
Maximum yield occurs while there still is potential growth on the plant.
Bottom leaves begin falling off faster after full bloom so new growth
can accumulate at the top. The bottom line is that yield can be lost by
waiting too long.
Source: University of Nebraska.
Four States Get Disaster Designations
Last week, USDA designated the entire state of Vermont
a primary natural disaster area. The designation was announced due to a
number of factors, including excessive rainfall and flooding. Counties
in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York were also included in the
Qualified farmer operators in designated areas are eligible for
low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency and have eight
months from the date of declaration to apply for loans to help cover
part of their actual losses.
A map indicating the designated counties can be accessed at: disaster.fsa.usda.gov/fsa.asp.
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Alfalfa is facing substantial pressure from potato
leafhoppers throughout west-central Illinois. Many fields are
Source: University of Illinois.
Potato leafhoppers have been hitching a ride on
thunderstorm winds and are ending up in Missouri alfalfa fields this
summer. Growers should scout fields at least twice a week, especially
after thunderstorms, in order to catch and treat leafhoppers, says Wayne
Bailey, University of Missouri extension entomologist. Leafhoppers are
carried on upper-level winds from Gulf Coast states where they
overwinter in large numbers. "After the last two storm fronts, we
started finding lots of adult leafhoppers," Bailey says.
The recommended economic threshold for treatment is only 10 hoppers per
50 sweeps when a stand is less than 3" tall. For alfalfa 12" or taller,
the threshold is 100 hoppers per 50 sweeps. Scouting sweeps are made
with a 15" insect net. "If high numbers of insects are found, an
insecticide treatment should be considered," Bailey says. "If the
alfalfa field is ready for a third cutting of hay, an insecticide
treatment can be avoided. University of Missouri research shows that
harvesting with a disc mower-conditioner can reduce hopper nymph counts
by 90%. Fewer adult leafhoppers are killed by mechanical harvesters, as
the hoppers jump out of the way."
Newer alfalfa varieties with glandular hairs on their stems and leaves
are resistant to leafhoppers. "The hairs form a physical barrier which
holds the hoppers away from the plant surface," Bailey says.
Contact Bailey at 573-864-9905.
Source: University of Missouri.
North Dakota State University's Dickinson Research and
Extension Center reports the driest June on record, according to the Red
River Farm Network. Some North Dakota hay growers were unable to harvest
a crop due to the dry conditions. The drought has prompted North Dakota
Governor John Hoeven to declare an agriculture drought emergency in the
state. Last week's executive order creates a state water commission
program to help ranchers with the cost of creating permanent water
supplies for cattle. Hoeven is also seeking authorization from USDA to
open Conservation Reserve Program land to haying and grazing. The
governor asked the state-owned Bank of North Dakota to reactivate
programs that offer drought-affected producers and business owners help
with loan restructuring. He activated a working group that will help the
Division of Emergency Services coordinate drought relief efforts.
This is the first time since June 2004 that an agriculture drought
disaster has been declared in North Dakota. Hoeven says his order
applies to all counties, though those in the south-central part of the
state are the most seriously affected. Hoeven has not sought a federal
disaster declaration for drought-stricken parts of the state, but
officials are still reviewing reports to determine if such a request
should be made.
Sources: North Dakota Governor's Office and Red River Farm Network.
Learn more about the governor's drought emergency declaration at www.governor.state.nd.us/media/news-releases/2006/06/060628b.html.
Parts of northwestern Wisconsin have not seen much
rain, reports Lee Boettcher of JenLee Farms, St. Croix Falls. "Rainfall
has been less then 0.3" in the last month," he says. "Even with lack of
rain, first cutting of hay was of high quality, good quantity and
harvested in a timely manner. As of this date there is a lot of second
crop cut." Boettcher tells eHay Weekly the farmers he talks to
feel that there will not be a shortage of forage in the area this year.
"But we sure could use the rain," he concludes.
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both seedling and established alfalfa can have a significant effect
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Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course Is Aug.
Forage and beef cattle nutrition management will be the
topics of several Cattleman's College seminars at the 52nd Texas A&M
Beef Cattle Short Course, Aug. 7-9 in College Station. These topics are
timely, since keeping cattle in good condition was a challenge to Texas
beef producers last summer and this past winter, says Jason Cleere,
extension beef cattle specialist. Scarce rainfall during the 2005
growing season, as well as last fall and winter, resulted in very little
available grazing forage, he says. Forage alternatives will be discussed
at the seminars.
"Little to no hay reserves from 2005 and below-normal hay production
early in the 2006 season indicate that hay supplies may be short for
next winter," says Larry Redmon, extension forage specialist. "During
the forage session of the Cattleman's College, Texas A&M faculty will
address methods to stretch hay supplies."
The short course will have a total of 15 specialized workshops as part
of the Cattleman's College. A general session will include discussions
of the cattle market, climate and issues affecting landowners. Numerous
opportunities for Beef Quality Assurance and pesticide applicator
continuing education units will be available.
Registration by July 31 is $120 per participant and includes admission
to the conference and the Cattleman's College, a copy of the proceedings
(a 300-page publication), trade show admittance, tickets to the special
Aggie prime rib dinner, and additional meals and breaks. Registration
after July 31 will be $160.
Register online at animalscience.tamu.edu or call 979-845-6931.
Illinois Forage Expo Set For Aug. 25
The 2006 Illinois Forage Expo will be Friday, Aug. 25,
at Hildebrandt Farms, 2475 State Line Road, South Beloit. Field
demonstrations will include forage harvesting equipment and commercial
displays will feature forage-related products and equipment. In
addition, educational sessions will focus on alfalfa management, stored
feed options, cow health issues, raising dairy replacements on grass and
manure management plans.
The expo will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Hildebrandt operation
consists of a 350-head Holstein dairy confinement operation that
utilizes about 300 acres of alfalfa. The farm is about 8 miles east of
South Beloit on State Line Road, or go north from Belvidere on Route 76
about 16 miles to State Line Road, then west 1 1/2 miles.
For more information, go to www.illinoisforage.org, or contact the Illinois Forage
& Grassland Council at 618-664-0555, ext. 3.
**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.
**Aug. 7-9 -- Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course, Texas A&M
University, College Station. Register online at animalscience.tamu.edu or by calling 979-845-6931.
**Aug. 25 -- Illinois Forage Expo, Hildebrandt Farms, 2475 State
Line Road, South Beloit. Learn more at www.illinoisforage.org, or contact the Illinois Forage
& Grassland Council at 618-664-0555, ext. 3.
**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 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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