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 Hay & Forage
 USDA Hay Prices
 A Prism Business Media Publication September 12, 2006 |  
Hay Export Markets May Benefit All Growers
Top of the News NHA Elects Officers Horse Slaughter Prevention Act Passes House
State Reports Oklahoma Tennessee
Events Marketing Strategies Offered At Oct. 24-25 Conference Calendar
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This Week's USDA Hay Prices by State

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Hay Export Markets May Benefit All Growers
Developing hay export markets in Vietnam and China could improve hay prices and positively impact the U.S. economy, according to Pete Moss, National Hay Association (NHA) consulting nutritionist and export market specialist.

Moss works with NHA's International Market Development Committee to create new markets for U.S. hay; recent efforts have been on the growing Vietnamese dairy market.

"We could be exporting between 300,000 and 400,000 metric tons of U.S. hay into Vietnam by 2010," he says. Past NHA marketing efforts, for example, helped increase U.S. hay exports to Japan from 200 metric tons in 1972, to 1.5 million metric tons in 2004, Moss adds.

The Vietnamese government wants to increase its country's dairy production from the 2002 level of 40,000 dairy cows to 100,000 dairy cows by 2010. The number of larger herds, made up of 200 to 1,200 cows, is increasing.

"Milk production is low in Vietnamese dairies due to heat stress, poor forage and inadequate management," Moss explains. "Poor forage is a problem throughout the country. It is difficult to meet the needs of a large herd when hauling hay with an oxen and a cart."

Wet, hot, humid conditions rule out alfalfa production. Vietnamese producers can grow some grass hay, but only during the rainy season, and the hay is hard to put up. There is very limited grazing. Green-chopped forages are carried to cows by hand. Rice straw is often fed during the dry season. Some poor-quality silage is available, but silo management is poor.

Moss says imported U.S. alfalfa hay can economically compete with the forage alternatives available to Vietnamese dairies. NHA has conducted three years of research comparing U.S. hay to local forages. The studies concluded that U.S. alfalfa hay kept well with no mold, musty odor or other problems in the humid climate.

Numerous feeding studies were also conducted. Feeding U.S. alfalfa increased milk production by 2-10 lbs/cow, increased feed intake and body condition and showed positive economic outcomes. NHA then presented research results at conferences in Vietnam. "The researchers and dairy managers were enthused about feeding U.S. hay," Moss reports.

Similar market development activities have been undertaken in dairies in southern provinces of China. Because Chinese dairies are more advanced than Vietnamese dairies, a U.S. hay export market should develop more rapidly. "There seem to be unlimited opportunities for selling U.S. hay in China," Moss states.

Contact NHA at 800-707-0014 to learn more about its market development efforts.

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Top of the News
NHA Elects Officers
The National Hay Association (NHA) elected E.J. Croll, Oak Harbor, OH, as president of the 111-year-old organization during its annual meeting in Jackson Hole, WY, last week. Croll succeeds Richard Larsen, Dubois, ID. Ron Tombaugh, Streator, IL, will serve as first vice president, while Gary Smith, Mission Hill, SD, was elected second vice president.

For more on NHA, visit

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Horse Slaughter Prevention Act Passes House
Hay growers may have a few more horses to feed if the U.S. Horse Slaughter Prevention Act becomes law. Last week the House of Representatives passed H.R. 503, also known as "The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act," by a vote of 263 to 146. The legislation prohibits the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption. The measure now moves on to the Senate, where Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), who is a veterinarian, and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) have reintroduced an identical measure (S. 1915).

If the act becomes law, it would shut down three foreign-owned plants that annually process about 40 million pounds of horsemeat for human consumption. The horsemeat is marketed largely to European and Japanese customers. The three plants include Dallas Crown in Kaufman, TX; Beltex Corp. in Fort Worth; and Cavel International in DeKalb, IL. According to USDA, 65,976 horses were harvested in the U.S. in 2004, and 91,757 in 2005.

The bill was approved despite a recommendation from the House Ag Committee that no action be taken on it, and despite the Energy and Commerce Committee discharging the measure without a recommendation. USDA also opposed the bill because it required the agency to take possession of unwanted horses and could create a significant burden without adequate funding to provide for their care. The bill also fails to compensate horse owners for monetary losses resulting from the ban, raising concerns at USDA.

Sources: BEEF Cow-Calf Weekly newsletter, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and 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
Some Oklahoma hay growers started taking fifth cuttings last week, says Delmar Allen, Allen Hay Company, Byron. He lives in north-central Oklahoma and sells horse and dairy hay. He notes yields have been around two-thirds of normal this year and precipitation has been significantly below normal. Allen says southern Oklahoma has been dry and producers there have been hit hard by wildfires. USDA reports that southern Oklahoma finally benefited from some showers and cooler temperatures during the last week. Hay continues to be brought into Oklahoma from other states and many producers are still looking for hay to buy.

According to USDA, premium-quality large square bales of alfalfa sold for $150-170/ton in central and western Oklahoma last week. Small squares brought $160-180/ton. Good-quality alfalfa sold for $140-150/ton in large square bales, $140-160/ton in small squares and $120-140/ton in large round bales. Fair-quality alfalfa went for $90-110/ton in large square bales; $80-$100/ton in round bales.

In central and eastern Oklahoma, premium-quality grass hay brought $90-110/ton; good quality, $80-100/ton; and fair quality, $60-80/ton.

Visit the hay directory on the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture's Web site at or call the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Hay Hotline at 800-580-6543. Contact Allen at 580-474-2538.

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Hot and dry weather characterized the hay season for Larry Jones, L&B Hay Company, Oakland, TN. "We have been 12" below normal rainfall this year," he explains. "We had normal rainfall until the middle of April, and spotty rain after that." Temperatures averaged 10-12 degrees above normal, with temperatures reaching around 102 degrees for many days this summer in southwestern Tennessee. "The hot weather meant the hay color wasn't as good this year," he says. Jones grows and sells grass hay for the horse market, in addition to mulch hay and straw for construction markets. He also buys alfalfa hay for horse customers.

Jones grows bermudagrass and mixed grass hays. Because of the weather, he'll only get two rather than the usual three bermudagrass cuttings this year. He sells primarily to hunter and jumper horse facilities -- 90% of his customers are within 25 miles of his farm. "There are 60,000 horses within the Memphis area," he says. Jones sells mostly small square bales. But he also sells some 3 x 3 x 8' bales, mostly of straw. He runs a big baler in summer to make sure all the hay is harvested on time and rebales in winter using a custom-made Hesston baler mounted on the back of a gooseneck trailer.

Contact Jones at 901-465-9004.

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Marketing Strategies Offered At Oct. 24-25 Conference
Speakers at the upcoming Western Hay Business Conference & Expo, sponsored by Hay & Forage Grower, are prepared to share tips about how to successfully sell hay to key markets. Scheduled for Oct. 24-25 at the Red Lion Hotel at the Park in Spokane, WA, the conference will kick off with a panel of innovative hay growers discussing ways to increase sales and profits. Other speakers will cover hay export opportunities, producing hay for the horse market, organic hay production and financial planning considerations for hay growers.

Come to the conference to learn tips on how to squeeze more profit from your hay business. Learn more about how to maximize yields and profits from timothy and orchardgrass. Visit a hay industry specific trade show and take advantage of the chance to ask industry experts all about their products and services.

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

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**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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