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 Hay & Forage
 USDA Hay Prices
 A Prism Business Media Publication August 15, 2006 |  
USDA Forecasts 6% Less Alfalfa
Top of the News New Insurance Options Available
State Reports Midwest Minnesota Kansas
Events Register For Western Hay Business Conference Learn About Sheep And Goat Forages Calendar
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This Week's USDA Hay Prices by State

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USDA Forecasts 6% Less Alfalfa
Last week's USDA Crop Production report forecasts this year's alfalfa production at 71.2 million tons, down 6% from 2005 production. Yields are expected to average 3.18 tons/acre, 0.2 ton below last year's average yield. The total harvested acreage -- 22.4 million -- is up fractionally from the 2005 number.

Yields are expected to be down across the Great Plains states, California, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Virginia and Washington. Extremely hot and dry weather has persisted throughout the Great Plains, severely hurting yield expectations for alfalfa hay. Compared with 2005, the largest declines are expected in Oklahoma and Kansas, down 1.1 tons and 1.0 ton from last year, respectively. Meanwhile, yields are forecast higher across the northern and eastern Corn Belt, Arizona, Idaho, New York and Pennsylvania. The largest yield increases are expected in Illinois and Pennsylvania, up 0.9 ton and 0.6 ton, respectively.

Other hay production is forecast at 71.1 million tons, down 15%. Based on Aug. 1 conditions, yields of other hay are expected to average 1.77 tons, down 0.14 ton from last year's figure. If realized, the yield would be the lowest since 1990. Harvested area, at 40.3 million acres, is up 3%.

Very dry conditions during the spring and early summer contributed to decreased yield expectations across the Great Plains. Compared with last year, yields are down 0.6 ton in both North Dakota and South Dakota. Yields are also forecast to be down in the upper Mississippi Valley, Southeast and most of the Pacific Coast states. The largest expected decreases are forecast in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, where the forecast declines are 1.2 tons, 0.7 ton and 1.0 ton, respectively. The weather in these states has been extremely hot and dry, resulting in fewer cuttings and reduced yields. Meanwhile, yields are forecast to increase across the eastern Corn Belt, Arkansas, Louisiana, New York and Pennsylvania as less severe conditions and timely spring rains improved expectations.

Source: USDA.

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Top of the News
New Insurance Options Available
Two new risk management tools will be available to help protect forage, pasture and rangelands as of the 2007 crop year, according to an announcement from Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns last week. The new insurance programs, the rainfall index and vegetation index, are offered by the Risk Management Agency (RMA) and will be available through approved insurance providers. They will give livestock producers the ability to buy insurance protection for losses of forage produced for grazing or harvested for hay.

The rainfall index insurance program will be pilot-tested in 220 counties in Colorado, Idaho, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, North Dakota and Texas. It's based on rainfall indices as a means to measure expected production losses. The vegetation index program will be pilot-tested in 110 counties in Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and South Dakota and is based on satellite imagery that determines the productivity of the acreage as a means to measure expected production losses.

Both programs are designed to allow maximum flexibility for producers. For instance, producers are not required to insure all their acres, but may elect to insure only those acres important to their grazing program or hay operation. In addition, they're not required to insure the acreage for the entire crop year. The crop year is divided into intervals and producers may elect to insure their acreage for only those intervals where the risk is the greatest.

Both products will be available for sale from crop insurance agents beginning in late August 2006. The sales closing date is Nov. 30. More detailed information is available on the RMA Web site at:

Source: USDA.

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NK Brand Alfalfas deliver more quality AND more yield. Our premium alfalfas, like Genoa, Expedition and Boulder, combine high nutritional values with high yields, plus outstanding agronomics and persistence for longer, healthier stands. The result? More profit from your alfalfa acres - whether you feed it or sell it.
State Reports
Nebraska hay prices were steady at the beginning of August. Trade activity has slowed slightly, but demand was still very good in the state. Some much-needed rain covered Nebraska, which will enhance fourth-cutting production.

Iowa hay prices were mixed to slightly higher. Demand and trade activity were good to very good. Substantial rains hampered the third-cutting harvest, but should increase production of the fourth cutting.

South Dakota hay prices were mixed to lower than they have been. Demand continued to be very good with good interest in all classes.

Missouri hay prices were steady and demand was moderate. The 100-degree days returned, taking a toll on animals and forages. Most hay has been baled, and with the lack of moisture, the tonnage of the later alfalfa cuttings has been very light. Width restrictions on trucks hauling hay have been altered statewide to let producers deliver hay in larger bales and loads. The supply of surplus hay for sale that is normal for this time of year has been mostly eliminated, since growers have had to start supplemental feeding earlier than anticipated. Only rains and cooler temperatures can relieve the stress on pastures and result in some fall growth.

Straw prices in the Midwest averaged $2.32 per small square bale (range of $1.75 to $3), $20.87 per large square bale (range of $17 to $28) and $23 per large round bale (range of $20 to $26). Compared to the previous week, straw prices for small square bales were up 14%. Large square bale prices were down 17%, and round bale prices were up 21%.

Source: Ken Barnett, University of Wisconsin. Visit the UW web site at

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The hay harvest went smoothly in southwestern Minnesota this year, reports Kevin Nelson, Nelson Hay Company, Hadley. "This was the first year that first crop got cut and baled with no rain," he says. "Second crop was small due to the drier conditions, but that also got cut and baled with no rain. Third crop was really small; no rain for 30 days on that one, but it also got cut and baled with no rain. We got done baling and picked up at 7:30 p.m., and at 10 p.m. it started to rain. We got 3" over the next three days. I will never be able to do that again. With the rain we have gotten, I expect a good fourth crop, providing I can get it up."

Nelson says dry conditions in South Dakota have meant more hay customers are coming to Minnesota to buy hay, making it harder to find quality hay in the area. He's advising customers to make sure they have their hay supplies locked up early. Nelson contracts around 35% of his hay ahead of time. Customers can contract at the in-season price and accept hay delivery soon after cutting. Clients wanting later deliveries pay more because storage fees are added to the price. Nelson requires a $20/ton down payment when setting up a contract. "At this time I am not taking any new orders," he reports. "I'm doing inventory counts and yearly estimates on a monthly basis. If you contracted with me or are on my scheduled delivery list, you have hay coming. It is in the hay shed waiting for delivery." Nelson says contracting is helpful to hay growers as well as clients in a year like this one.

He keeps customers informed about supplies and production conditions with a regular email newsletter. Visit the Nelson Hay Company Web site at, or call Nelson at 507-836-6818.

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Many parts of Kansas received scattered showers last week with some areas getting significant amounts of rain. However, there was no relief from hot weather, according to the Kansas Ag Statistics Service. High temperatures remained over 100 degrees in many parts of the state.

Seventy-four percent of the third alfalfa cutting has been harvested. That total is 13% behind last year at this time, but the same as the five-year average. Five percent of the fourth alfalfa cutting has been harvested. Range and pasture conditions are rated 22% very poor, 31% poor, 35% fair and 12% good. Some cattle have been moved off pastures and fed hay. Hay and forage supplies are rated 9% very short, 37% short, 53% adequate and 1% surplus.

Source: Kansas Agricultural Statistics Service.

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Research trials conducted throughout the major alfalfa growing regions of the U.S. prove the superior performance of Raptor® herbicide: Controlling grasses and broadleaf weeds with Raptor in both seedling and established alfalfa can have a significant effect in improving the yield potential and forage quality of your alfalfa.

The chemical company.
Always read and follow label directions.
Raptor is a registered trademark of BASF. © 2005 BASF Corporation.
All Rights Reserved.
APN 05-01-133-0010 b
Register For Western Hay Business Conference
Plan now to attend the upcoming Western Hay Business Conference and Expo, sponsored by Hay & Forage Grower. 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

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Learn About Sheep And Goat Forages
A sheep and goat forage workshop will be held at the Southern Indiana Purdue University Agriculture Center (SIPAC) on Aug. 29. It will cover forage-quality basics, and the use of warm-season annual forages and cool-season pasture grazing systems. Other sessions will cover fencing and watering for grazing systems, parasite management and hoof health.

The workshop is designed for sheep and goat producers, beginning herdsmen or those interested in learning more about proper sheep and goat management. Participants also will get an overview of the SIPAC meat goat project, a joint effort between Purdue and the University of Kentucky that will provide research and education for producers and the industry.

The event will take place from 3-7 p.m. SIPAC is at 11371 E. Purdue Farm Road near Dubois, IN. Anyone interested may register at the door. There is a $2 registration fee per person. Light refreshments will be provided.

Purdue Agriculture, the University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University are workshop sponsors. University specialists scheduled to speak include Terry Hutchens of the University of Kentucky, Ken Andries of Kentucky State University and Purdue's Jason Tower.

More information and a map of the workshop site can be found at

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**Aug. 25 -- Illinois Forage Expo, Hildebrandt Farms, 2475 State Line Road, South Beloit. Learn more at, 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

**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, or visit

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

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

**Oct. 3-7 -- World Dairy Expo, Alliant Energy Center, Madison, WI. Learn more at

**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 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

**Nov. 21 -- Kentucky Grazing Conference, Fayette County Extension Office, Lexington. Learn more at

**Dec. 11-13 -- Western Alfalfa & Forage Conference, Reno, NV. Contact Dan Putnam at 530-752-8982 or, or Glenn Shewmaker at 208-736-3608 or

**Jan. 18-19 -- Southwest Hay Conference, Ruidoso Convention Center, Ruidoso, NM. Contact Doug Whitney at 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. 6-7 -- Mid-America Alfalfa Expo, Buffalo County Fairgrounds, Kearney, NE. Visit or call Barb Kinnan at 800-743-1649.

**Feb. 27 -- Kentucky Alfalfa Conference, Cave City Convention Center. Learn more at

**Feb. 28-March 2 -- National Grassfed Beef Conference, Grantville, PA. Contact John Comerford at 814-863-3661 or, or Dave Hartman at 570-784-6660, ext. 12, or

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Lora Berg, Editor, eHay Weekly,

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