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 A Prism Business Media Publication July 18, 2006 |  
Ehay WEEKLY CONTENTS
USDA Expands CRP Haying, Grazing
Top of the News Iowa Offers Weed Seed-Free Certification USDA Guide Offers Security Tips
State Reports Kansas Kentucky Manitoba Nebraska South Dakota
Events Western Hay Business Conference Is Oct. 24-25 Manitoba Grazing Tour Coming July 25-26 Calendar
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USDA Expands CRP Haying, Grazing
Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner recently announced the expansion of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acreage eligible for emergency haying and grazing in specific counties in Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming. Conner also announced that CRP rental payments will be reduced by only 10% instead of the standard 25% on CRP lands that are grazed in 2006.

The expanded area radiates 150 miles out from any county approved for emergency haying and grazing in any above-mentioned state. A map of the counties approved for emergency haying and grazing with an approximate 150-mile radius will be posted on the Farm Service Agency (FSA) Web site at www.fsa.usda.gov. Click on Conservation.

To be approved for emergency haying or grazing, a county must be listed as a level D3 Drought -- Extreme or greater, or have suffered at least a 40% loss of normal moisture and forage for the preceding four-month period. State FSA committees may authorize emergency haying or grazing of CRP in counties currently listed as level D3 drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. CRP participants should submit applications with their local FSA offices.

More information is available at FSA offices and the Web site.

Source: USDA.

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Top of the News
Iowa Offers Weed Seed-Free Certification
The Iowa Crop Improvement Association is offering a certification program to assure that forage and mulch are free of noxious weed seeds. The program complies with the Weed-Free Forage Standards developed by the North American Weed Management Association.

The key steps in the program include filling out an application form for seed or commercial fields of forages and small grains, inspection of fields and storage sites prior to cutting and harvesting, labeling the bales or containers with certification labels and issuance of a transit certificate for interstate shipments. Inspecting fields and storage sites within 10 days of harvest assures that a designated list of 54 noxious weeds and undesirable plants are not present. Any noxious weeds or undesirable plants near the field are isolated from the field by at least 10'.

For more information, visit www.agron.iastate.edu/icia or contact Eileen Wuebker, Iowa Crop Improvement Association, at 515-294-0546 or iowacrop@iastate.edu.

Source: Iowa State University.

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USDA Guide Offers Security Tips
USDA recently released Pre-Harvest Security Guidelines and Checklist 2006 to help agricultural producers enhance security at the farm level. These practical measures help to protect against natural disasters as well as the unintentional or intentional introduction of plant or animal diseases.

"We work on many fronts to ensure that our nation continues to provide the safest food supply in the world," says Agriculture Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner. "While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to protecting agriculture, recommendations in this guide can be beneficial to a variety of types and sizes of agricultural operations."

The voluntary guidelines and checklists were developed based upon recommendations from producers throughout the U.S. Guidelines have been developed for general agriculture, dairy, crops, cattle and poultry security.

USDA's local Farm Service Agency Service Centers are distributing the guide. For more information about USDA's homeland security efforts, go to www.usda.gov/homelandsecurity.

Source: USDA.

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State Reports
Kansas
Alfalfa fields in parts of Kansas are stressed from drought, and Kansas State University agronomists are encouraging growers to cut their losses -- literally.

"We have alfalfa that, because of drought, grew from about 4 to 10" tall, but has just been sitting there at the same stage of development for two or three weeks," says Gary Kilgore, southeast area agronomist. If the alfalfa is tall enough, Kilgore advises growers to go ahead and cut it for hay. If, however, the plants are only a few inches tall and haven't been growing for the last couple of weeks, he encourages them to cut the field, just let the old growth lie in the field, and let new growth start developing on those plants.

Kilgore says much of southeastern Kansas received rain July 13, and cutting the alfalfa now will allow plants to take advantage of the moisture while forming new tillers. Topgrowth that has stopped due to drought stress won't start growing again, says extension agronomy state leader Jim Shroyer. New stems from the crown will be initiated by recent moisture, but leaving the old growth on plants won't help them, he says.

Source: Kansas State University.

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Kentucky
Several cases of Scolecotrichum leaf blight were recently diagnosed in Kentucky orchardgrass fields, according to Paul Vincelli, University of Kentucky plant pathologist. This disease appears as tan or tannish-orange blotches of dead tissue on leaf blades. Blighting, which results in rapid death of portions of the leaf blade, often appears toward the upper half of the leaf. Under a hand lens, one can see very tiny black pimple-like structures, which is where the spores are produced. "Though we commonly see this disease in orchardgrass during summertime in Kentucky, the damage this year seems to be worse than normal," Vincelli notes.

He says cutting hay crops will help reduce disease progress. Producers are also urged to select orchardgrass varieties that have proven themselves to be well-adapted to Kentucky conditions. Learn more about how different varieties performed by referring to University of Kentucky Extension Agronomy's orchardgrass variety evaluations at www.uky.edu/Ag/Forage/ForageVarietyTrials2.htm.

Source: University of Kentucky.

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Manitoba
Manitoba hay growers were excited about their first cutting but now are looking for rain, reports Glenn Friesen, a Manitoba Agriculture forage business development specialist. "We had an excellent first-cut harvest," he says. "Yields were average to above-average, and quality was excellent. We've had little rain in the past few weeks, which improved the harvesting conditions. However, we're ready for rain now to improve second-cut yields. Certainly the regrowth on our coarse-textured soils will be significantly reduced from the drier conditions.

"Our pastures are experiencing the most stress due to the dry conditions, which may contribute to an increased demand for hay this fall," Friesen says. "You can certainly tell who's practicing rotational grazing, as those pastures are in better condition. We predict average to below-average amounts of high-quality forage will be available this feeding season, and any additional rain will improve the situation."

Friesen says growers have been saving high-quality hay to sell into the U.S. market. A listing of the hay available in Manitoba can be viewed at web2.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/haysearch/index.php. All hay in the dairy section of the site is required to have test results entered, Friesen notes. "This makes hay selection more user-friendly," he says. The Manitoba Forage Council is currently setting up a list of Manitoba producers and truckers who have marketed or transported hay into the U.S. in the last few years. The list will be made up of people who know how to work efficiently with U.S. import regulations. It will soon be available on the forage council's Web site, www.mbforagecouncil.mb.ca/default.aspx, under the heading Forage and Hay Marketing.

Contact Friesen at 204-745-5672.

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Nebraska
Spotty rain showers ranging from 1" to more than 3" fell in parts of Dawson County, NE, during the last couple weeks, according to Dave Stenberg, the county's extension educator. Some areas received hail as well. Pastures and grasses revived a little with the recent moisture. "We sold a lot of hay last fall because we had a lot, but some producers wish they'd waited until now with the higher prices," Stenberg says. "We don't have the hay acreage we used to, given the emphasis on ethanol in the area. Prices range from $80 to $90 for big round and square bales and over $100 for small bales. High-quality hay is going for $125. More and more cow-calf producers are using distiller's grains to supplement pasture feeding."

Meanwhile, second-cutting alfalfa is done and regrowth will need some rain in Dakota, Thurston and Dixon counties. Subsoil moisture is becoming short, sandy and high-clay areas are showing stress, and irrigators are running their pivots on corn, says Del Hemsath, extension educator in those counties.

Cowpea aphids have been reported in alfalfa at Nebraska's Haskell Ag Lab. "It's dry here and recent rains have been spotty," says Tom Hunt, extension entomologist at the lab.

Rains have been good but spotty in Nemaha County. "We've had several days of heavy dews, which also helped," states Gary Lesoing, extension educator. "We've had a few potato leafhoppers in alfalfa, so producers should be prepared to scout, especially in new stands."

Source: University of Nebraska.

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South Dakota
Sale barns are reporting tremendous increases in cattle sales as South Dakota ranchers run out of pasture and hay due to dry conditions, and hay prices hit more than $100/ton, according to the Rapid City Journal. Herreid Livestock Market, the state's second-largest sale barn, has seen a 90% increase in cattle sales for this time of year. The sale barn receives cattle for sale from western and central South Dakota. Normal sales for this time of year average 200-300 cattle per week. This summer, 2,500-3,500 head per week have been selling, most of them cows and their spring calves. Ranch families are reportedly selling their entire herds.

USDA recently announced that Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres in 20 drought-stricken South Dakota counties would be available for emergency haying and grazing. However, the paper quotes officials saying much of the CRP acres in drought areas have little feed value left. The fields are also catching fire easily, creating a number of wildfires.

The high cost of fuel is adding to the cost of transporting hay to the area. "It's as desperate a situation as I've ever seen," says Herman Schumacher, co-owner of Herreid Livestock Market.

Source: Rapid City Journal.

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Events
Western Hay Business Conference Is Oct. 24-25
The Western Hay Business Conference and Expo, sponsored by Hay & Forage Grower, is scheduled for Oct. 24-25 at the Red Lion Hotel at the Park in Spokane, WA. It will feature a panel of innovative hay growers discussing ways to increase sales and profits. Other speakers will cover hay export opportunities.

Come to the conference to learn tips on how to squeeze more profit from your hay business. Learn more about alfalfa's role in human nutrition, in building materials, and as fodder for ethanol. Learn more about how to maximize yields and profits from timothy and orchardgrass. Find out why hay growers need to look at the organic hay market and what horse hay buyers want and how they want it.

Register for $150 per person and bring a second person from your operation for $125. Learn more at www.hayconference.com.

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Manitoba Grazing Tour Coming July 25-26
Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives, along with Ducks Unlimited and the Manitoba Forage Council, have organized a two-day Provincial Grazing Tour for July 25-26. Busses will travel across southwestern Manitoba, making farm stops to hear speakers on alfalfa in rotation, alfalfa grazing and management practices for breaking disease cycles and improving animal health and productivity, and many other subjects. There will also be demonstrations on electric fencing and mobile watering systems. View the brochure at www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/news/topics/pdf/daa74d03.pdf.

For more information, contact Glenn Friesen, Manitoba Agriculture, at 204-745-5672.

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Calendar
**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. 7-9 -- Stockman's School For Profit, Rockin H Ranch, Norwood, MO. Gerald Fry and Cody Holms will provide real live data and a close-up look at how the Rockin H Ranch of 900 cow/calf pairs has grown to a successful family operation in the last 31 years. Ranchers can learn how to profitably operate a ranch. Contact Cody Holmes at 417-844-2619, email rockinh@getgoin.net, or visit www.rochinh.net.

**Sept. 12 -- Kentucky Forage And Grassland Council Field Day, Dobbs Shady Meadow Farm, Campbell County. Learn more at www.uky.edu/Ag/Forage.

**Sept. 21-24 -- World Beef Expo, Wisconsin State Fair Park near Milwaukee. Learn more at www.worldbeefexpo.com, or call 414-266-7050.

**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.

**Oct. 20-21 -- 5th Annual Pennsylvania Statewide Project Grass Conference, Williamsport. Featured speakers include Jim Gerrish and Allen Williams, plus many more. Contact Kris Ribble at kris.ribble@pa.usda.gov or 570-784-4401 ext. 111.

**Oct. 24-25 -- Western Hay Business Conference And Expo, Red Lion Hotel at the Park, Spokane, WA. Sponsored by Hay & Forage Grower. Register at $150 per person and bring a second person from your operation for $125. Learn more at www.hayconference.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 dhputnam@ucdavis.edu, or Glenn Shewmaker at 208-736-3608 or gshew@uidaho.edu.

**Jan. 18-19 -- Southwest Hay Conference, Ruidoso Convention Center, Ruidoso, New Mexico. Contact Doug Whitney at dug@plateautel.net, 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 glacefie@uky.edu.

**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 jxc555@gmail.com, or Dave Hartman at 570-784-6660, ext. 12, or dwh2@psu.edu.

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Comments from Readers
Dear eHay Weekly,
I was disturbed by the comments in the article, "Chemical Residues Threaten Exports," (July 22 issue of eHay Weekly). "The guidelines must be followed for all hay that may be exported." If it is a threat to exported hay, why is it not a threat to non-exported hay? Is the health of America not important to farmers ... obviously not! The more I read, the more evidence I find that America's agriculture has fallen victim to the chemical warfare that the giants are field testing. Proper management can curtail the need for chemical warfare and in most cases put it in check.

A responsible publication would work toward correcting the situation, not exploiting it. I understand that the advertisers pay the bills but at what expense? Take a proactive stance and make them the heroes and develop the proper alternative to chemicals.

Timothy Hall
Seacoast Plumbing & Heating
Dragon Fly Farms
174 Prescott Road
Northport, ME 04849

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Send Questions & Comments To...

Lora Berg, Editor, eHay Weekly,

hfg@hayandforage.com

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