Hay Grower Hosts Open House
Carl Blackmer combined a little hay production
education with some subtle marketing and promotion when he held an
on-farm open house to showcase his hay business in August. More than 300
people came to Blackmer's Old Fort Farm near Livonia, NY, to get a look
at his new hay press and learn more about hay production. He had invited
Richard Larsen, president of the National Hay Association (NHA) and
Dubois, ID, hay grower, to speak about the work of NHA and hay
production across the country. Members of the Northwestern New York
Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops team from the Cornell University
extension service also gave presentations about nitrogen management,
preventing spontaneous combustion and hayfield weed control.
The open house program included a demonstration of Blackmer's new hay
press. "We had been operating six or seven little balers, plus three
bale wagons, plus two big balers at the same time when we decided to
eliminate the small balers while trying to maintain our existing horse
hay customers," he explains. "We wanted to be able to harvest with our
big square balers and reprocess the large bales into sizes the market
would demand. We also wanted to be able to reprocess hay we purchase
from other producers."
Blackmer sells his hay almost exclusively to the East Coast horse
market. He raises close to 2,000 acres of hay and straw, and buys hay
and straw to sell. Old Fort Farm produces timothy, timothy-alfalfa,
orchardgrass, precut rye, wheat and oat straw and baleage. His new
Steffen Systems hay press allows him to make bales weighing 60-80 lbs.
He invited his hay customers to the open house to learn more about the
new baling process, and also invited local farmers as a way of finding
new sources of hay.
"We are considering doing custom rebaling with our new machine and we
also wanted to promote this service to potential customers," he
Contact Blackmer at 585-367-2342.
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Come To The Western Hay Business Conference &
Three of the most progressive hay growers in the U.S.
will share insights and marketing tips during an Innovative Hay Growers
Panel at the Western Hay Business Conference & Expo, Oct. 24-25 at the
Red Lion Hotel at the Park, Spokane, WA. Panel members will include Joe
Heese, hay operations manager for Farm Partners Supply, Harlan, IA;
Scott Duffner, farm manager, Dinsdale Farms, Silver Lake, OR; and
Richard Larsen, owner, Larsen Farms, Dubois, ID.
Farm Partners Supply is a limited liability company made up of more than
30 farmers. Heese oversaw the cutting and baling of more than 9,000
acres of hay for the group this year. He uses an on-farm NIR testing
machine to get speedier answers to hay-quality questions. The group also
bought six propane-powered Veda Farming Solutions hay dryers in 2005 to
improve the production of dairy-quality hay.
As farm manager for Dinsdale Farms, Duffner is responsible for around
4,000 acres of alfalfa in addition to organic hay production for large
organic dairies. Larsen is immediate past president of the National Hay
Association and runs a sizeable hay and potato operation. Larsen Farms
owns a patented shredder-compactor capable of processing 20 tons of hay
per hour. The operation's three-story, 120,000 sq ft hay terminal is the
largest alfalfa storage facility in the U.S. The terminal has space for
10,000 compressed tons of hay. It includes five loading docks where 10
railcars can be loaded at once. Larsen Farms owns a rail spur in
addition to a fleet of trucks, enabling the operation to deliver quality
hay throughout the U.S.
Other speakers at the Western Hay Business Conference & Expo will
discuss hay export opportunities, producing hay for the horse market and
organic hay production. Learn more about maximizing yields and profits
from timothy and orchardgrass. Visit a hay industry-specific trade show
and 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 about the conference at www.hayconference.com.
Dairy Cow Slaughter Numbers Rise
USDA's latest Livestock Slaughter report, issued in
late September, shows that 217,000 dairy cows were culled in August, up
42,000 from July and 27,000 more than in August 2005. Just under 1.5
million head were taken out of production in the first eight months of
2006, an increase of 44,000 from the year-ago figure.
The mid-September Milk Production report showed milk production in the
23 major milk-producing states during August totaled 13.9 billion
pounds, 1.6 % more than in August 2005. The number of milk cows on farms
in the 23 states was reported to be 8.25 million head, 88,000 more than
in August 2005 but 9,000 less than in July 2006.
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It looks like parts of Georgia will be short of hay
this fall and winter, reports Billy Skaggs, Hall County extension agent,
Gainesville. "We got some spotty rain in the last four to six weeks in
northeastern Georgia, and things have perked up a little bit," he says.
"Prior to that rain, we went through a very dry summer, like most other
parts of the Southeast. Bermudagrass and fescue were very slow to regrow
after harvest. I would imagine those folks who were cutting bermudagrass
hay were probably lucky to make half of the production they would
typically make in a summer." Prices are already much higher than normal
for this time of year. Skaggs says small square bales of bermudagrass
for horse enthusiasts are selling for upwards of $7-8/bale. Larger 4 x
5' and 5 x 5' rolls are bringing more than $40/roll. "Those producers
who cut good-quality hay this summer, and who have had it tested, should
do well this winter if they are able to store it and keep it dry and in
good condition," he says.
Armyworms have been a problem the last four weeks. "The armyworms seem
to have peaked two weeks ago in Hall County, but we have been trying to
get the word out to let people know they're out there," Skaggs says.
"Unfortunately, people often don't realize they have a problem until
it's too late. It has been a challenge. I know a number of farmers were
looking forward to having one more good cutting of bermudagrass since it
has been a short-hay year, and then armyworms took care of that for
them. We've had some evening temperatures in the 50-degree range lately,
so I hope armyworms are on the way out for now.
"I think we're going to see a lot more farmers planting small grains and
winter grazing to try to offset what hay prices are expected to be this
winter," Skaggs adds. Area livestock producers have been investigating
ways to work clover, rye, wheat, oats and ryegrass into their winter
Contact Skaggs at 770-531-6988.
It's been a variable season for hay production in
Virginia, with some dry areas, according to Chris Teutsch, Virginia Tech
extension forage specialist. "Production of our first-harvest hay, where
a lot of our tonnage comes from, was probably 30% off of normal," he
says. "Then we got some rain and had a better second harvest in general.
But overall we're down in hay production, and we're down on high-quality
hay for the horse industry." Rain that came along with Hurricane Ernesto
in late August helped grass growth in most of Virginia. Teutsch expects
a good stockpiling year to help with the hay situation. "People who put
some late-summer nitrogen down in August and September are going to have
good fall growth in their pastures," he states.
Billbugs and Japanese beetle grubs were a problem in some stands this
year. "Generally, it seems these problems show up when it starts to get
dry, which makes sense because root feeding leads to a smaller root
system and then those plants are more susceptible to dry conditions,"
Teutsch says. The insects seem to be more of a problem in orchardgrass
stands and don't seem to damage fescue as much.
A new round of variety trials in Virginia will be testing around 30 tall
fescue varieties and 20 of orchardgrass in several locations. Around 15
alfalfa varieties and 12 red clovers will also be tested. "We're putting
in some field-scale Roundup Ready strip trials, too," Teutsch reports.
He says interest in Roundup Ready alfalfa is growing. "We only have
around 100,000 acres of alfalfa in Virginia, but I think we have a lot
more potential for alfalfa, both in Virginia and in the South," he says.
"It feels like a forgotten legume. Roundup Ready alfalfa could fit in
well, especially on farms that have bad infestations of johnsongrass
where we could go in and clean up the fields with Roundup Ready alfalfa.
As the stand thins, we could then possibly go in with orchardgrass and
have a nice mixture of alfalfa and orchardgrass for the horse hay
market." Teutsch says there are around 225,000 horses in Virginia,
leading to good demand for high-quality horse hay.
Contact Teutsch at 434-292-5331, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Dairy Expo Offers Forage Seminars
Forage producers will have several chances to learn
more about the dairy market during seminars at this week's World Dairy
Expo in Madison, WI. The seminar schedule is as follows:
Oct. 4, 10:30 a.m. -- "Butyric Acid in Silage: Why It happens,
How to Deal with It," Richard Muck, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center,
Madison, and Garrett Oetzel, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of
Oct. 4, 1:30 p.m. -- "Zero in on Harvest and Feeding Decisions
with Forage-Moisture Monitoring," Matthew Digman, U.S. Dairy Forage
Oct. 5, 10:30 a.m. -- "Should Yield or Quality Be the Rule at
Alfalfa Harvest Time?" Geoffrey Brink, U.S. Dairy Forage Research
Oct. 5, 1:30 p.m. -- "Wide Swath Haylage Saves Time and
Nutrients," Tom Kilcer, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Rensselaer
Oct. 6, 10:30 a.m. -- "BMR Sorghum-Sudangrass Measures Up to Corn
Silage," Tom Kilcer.
Oct. 6, 1:30 p.m. -- "A Realities Check: Working with Starch in
Your Rations," Mary Beth Hall, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center.
Oct. 7, 10:30 a.m. -- "Balance for Effective Fiber to Reduce
Acidosis," Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois.
The winning entries from the 23rd World's Forage Analysis Superbowl will
be on display in the Arena Building on the Alliant Energy Center
grounds. Winners of the 2006 superbowl will be honored Oct. 5 at an
11:15 a.m. luncheon.
Contact Jill Makovec at 608-845-1900 for more information.
**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. Visit www.sunbeltexpo.com
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 email@example.com 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 www.hayconference.com.
**Nov. 14-15 -- 2006 BEEF Magazine's Quality Summit,
Clarion Hotel, Oklahoma City. Learn more and sign up at www.beef-mag.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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or Glenn
Shewmaker at 208-736-3608 or email@example.com.
**Jan. 18-19 -- Southwest Hay Conference, Ruidoso Convention
Center, Ruidoso, NM. Learn more at the New Mexico Hay Association Web
site at www.nmhay.com.
Contact Doug Whitney at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 www.alfalfaexpo.com or call Barb Kinnan at
**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 email@example.com, or Dave Hartman at
570-784-6660, ext. 12, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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