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 Hay & Forage
 USDA Hay Prices
 A Prism Business Media Publication September 5, 2006 |  
Tips For Killing An Old Forage Stand
Top of the News USDA Announces Drought Assistance Programs Kansas CRP Haying, Grazing Extended Until Sept. 30
State Reports Alabama Midwest
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This Week's USDA Hay Prices by State

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Tips For Killing An Old Forage Stand
Growers have the option of using tillage and/or herbicides to remove a forage stand, according to Michigan State University (MSU) experts. If a herbicide method is chosen, fall is an ideal time to kill an established legume stand in parts of the northern U.S. Similar methods can be used to remove a clover crop or an old alfalfa stand. The field should be mowed in late August or early September in central and lower Michigan, for example, or mid-August in northern Michigan. Growers are urged to check with local forage experts to find the ideal time for their specific region of the country. Following cutting, allow the plants to regrow for four weeks before the herbicide application. At the time of application, the plant canopy should be at least 6" tall.

MSU trials have shown that a properly timed fall application of glyphosate should be adequate at killing the weed and legume species commonly found in an old alfalfa or clover sod. Farmers may choose to add a growth regulator herbicide, like 2,4-D ester or dicamba, to the glyphosate to ensure adequate control of broadleaf perennial weeds. This can be fairly inexpensive and may be beneficial under certain conditions. However, if a growth regulator is added to the tankmix, do not reduce the glyphosate rate, as this could result in lost glyphosate efficacy due to herbicide antagonism.

All removal applications should made when there are adequate soil and daytime air temperatures. Application should be made when the leaves are dry, the wind is calm and there is no risk of rainfall for several hours. The plants should be green, actively growing and not showing symptoms of frost injury.

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Top of the News
USDA Announces Drought Assistance Programs
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has announced $780 million in assistance to help farmers and ranchers manage weather-related production challenges. The announcement was made during a visit to South Dakota last week. This funding includes a new $50 million program for livestock producers impacted by drought, focusing nearly $30 million in unused conservation funds on drought and accelerating the delivery of an estimated $700 million in counter-cyclical payments.

The new program for livestock producers, called the Livestock Assistance Grant Program, will provide $50 million in Section 32 to states in block grant form. States will distribute to livestock producers in counties that were designated as D3 or D4 on the Drought Monitor anytime between March 7 and Aug. 31, 2006. The grants are to help livestock producers restore their buying power. A list of eligibility criteria and eligible counties can be found at by clicking on the drought spotlight.

The nearly $30 million in unused conservation funds includes almost $19 million in unused Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) funds and $11 million in unused Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) money. The ECP funds will go to 27 states. Information on eligibility and a list of the states and funding are also posted online. The GRP funds will help to protect drought-affected grazing lands and will be distributed to 14 states. These funds will be focused on pending GRP applications for rental agreements in drought-affected areas.

Johanns also directed Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) state conservationists to work with their producers and state technical committees to focus remaining 2006 and a portion of 2007 conservation program funds on resource conservation practices related to drought response and mitigation. Programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), the Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) program and GRP have built-in flexibility and local decision-making ability to encourage a focus on state-specific concerns, such as those related to drought.

Source: USDA.

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Kansas CRP Haying, Grazing Extended Until Sept. 30
The Kansas Farm Service Agency announced it extended emergency Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) haying and grazing until the end of the month, according to reports in The Hutchinson News newspaper. Producers in drought-stricken counties now can use CRP acres until Sept. 30. Livestock producers in 39 Kansas counties are eligible for the program and can hay and graze their own CRP or can buy rights in any county in an expanded area. The area includes counties within a 150-mile radius of any approved county for emergency haying and grazing.

CRP participants in the expanded area who are not in the 39 approved Kansas counties can't hay or graze their CRP acres for their own use. Previous counties approved include Clark, Comanche, Edwards, Ellis, Ellsworth, Finney, Ford, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Hamilton, Haskell, Hodgeman, Kearny, Lane, Meade, Morton, Ness, Rush, Russell, Scott, Seward, Stanton, Stevens and Wichita. CRP participants will be assessed a 10% reduction in their annual rental payment for the acres actually hayed or grazed.

Meanwhile, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius recently announced that Kansas ranchers will receive nearly $4.8 million in aid under the recently announced Livestock Assistance Grant Program from USDA.

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You can prevent stand loss. You can reduce dry-down time. You can increase alfalfa forage quality, stand longevity and yield. You can do it with Raptor® herbicide. Research trials prove that the superior performance of Raptor controls grasses and broadleaf weeds, enabling your alfalfa - and your bottom line - to thrive.

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State Reports
Alabama farmers are reporting dwindling hay crops in spite of recent scattered showers, according to reports in the Cullman Times newspaper. Fall armyworm outbreaks across the state also have taken a toll on the hay crop. Livestock producers throughout the state are reporting that they don't have enough hay stored to feed their herds throughout the winter. Some have been selling livestock, driving prices down at area stockyards. Much of the hay that is available is reported to be poor quality.

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Nebraska hay prices were steady last week, according to the University of Wisconsin's weekly hay market demand and price report. Trade activity was moderate to active. Demand was very good, and hay inventories are steadily declining.

Iowa's hay prices were mixed to slightly higher under moderate to good demand.

South Dakota hay prices were steady. Demand continued very good for all classes. Straw prices were steady.

Missouri also reported steady hay prices with moderate demand and light supply. Rains finally fell in southern parts of the state and continued to fall in the north. Farmers were hoping that moisture would continue to allow for some fall growth, but some areas were possibly past the point of any recovery this year. Grass types of hay have been moving very well. A lot of hay has moved out of the state toward the Southwest and has been selling at prices as high as anyone remembers.

Southwestern Minnesota hay prices have been mixed to lower than earlier in the month. Sales activity was reported to be moderate in the area.

The demand for Illinois hay was moderate, with moderate sales. Prices were steady and the supply was moderate to heavy. Most of the demand for hay came from horse interests and out of state. Many growers have baled their third cuttings and were working on their fourth or fifth cuttings last week. Mid-August rainfall gave new life to pastures as well as alfalfa stands. Potato leafhoppers continued to be the most common pest bothering alfalfa growers, with many spraying after every cutting. Straw prices were steady with most of the demand coming from the landscaping industry. Demand has been moderate for the moderate-to-heavy supply of straw.

As of Aug. 27, 75% of the third alfalfa harvest had been completed in Wisconsin. That compared to 65% in 2005 and the five-year average of 59%. Many growers reported a very strong third cutting.

Straw prices in the Midwest averaged $2.14 per small square bale (range of $1.50 to $3); $22.81 per large square bale (range of $18 to $27.50); and $22 per large round bale (range of $21 to $23). Compared to the previous week, straw prices were down 2% for small square bales, 1% for large square bales and 5% for large round bales.

In Midwestern states, the average price for small square bales of prime hay -- 151 or greater relative feed value (RFV)/relative forage quality (RFQ) -- was $121/ton, with a maximum price of $160/ton and minimum price of $50/ton. Large square bales of the same quality averaged $118/ton, ranging from $50 to $160/ton. Large round bales averaged $86/ton and ranged from $50 to $102/ton.

Grade 1 hay -- 125 to 150 RFV/RFQ -- averaged $80/ton in small square bales, with a maximum price of $90/ton and minimum price of $70/ton. Large square bales averaged $71/ton, ranging from $40 to $90/ton, and large round bales ranged from $33 to $85/ton, averaging $58.19/ton.

Small square bales of Grade 2 hay -- 103 to 124 RFV/RFQ -- averaged $60/ton, ranging from and $50 to $70/ton. Large square bales of Grade 2 hay averaged $71.67/ton, ranging from $60 to $85/ton, and large round bales ranged from $30 to $75/ton and averaged $48/ton.

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The biggest ideas in haying equipment come from New Holland. Like the BW Series self-propelled automatic bale wagon, featuring a new five-speed automatic transmission that provides excellent speed matching ability. Choose a slower ground speed in high-density crops, or fifth gear overdrive for no-load road speed. To learn more, see your local New Holland dealer or call 1-888-290-7377.
**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. Visit or call 229-985-1968.

**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 & 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. 14-15 -- 2006 BEEF Magazine's Quality Summit, Clarion Hotel, Oklahoma City. Learn more and sign up 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. Learn more at the New Mexico Hay Association Web site at 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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