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Weekly: Brought to you by Hay & Forage
 Hay & Forage
 USDA Hay Prices
 A Prism Business Media Publication October 10, 2006 |  
Wyoming Growers Top Forage Superbowl
Top of the News Come To The Western Hay Business Conference & Expo
State Reports Illinois Nebraska South Dakota Wyoming
Events Sunbelt Ag Expo Is Oct. 17-19 Calendar
Comments from Readers Send Questions & Comments To...

This Week's USDA Hay Prices by State

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Wyoming Growers Top Forage Superbowl
Wyoming hay growers made a strong showing at the 2006 World's Forage Analysis Superbowl. Ervin Gara III, Torrington, was named overall grand champion, and his dad, Ervin Gara Jr., Huntley, topped the commercial hay category. Kellie Hinman, Wheatland, placed second in that category, and Bill Reed, Casper, finished third. David Hinman of Hard Rock Farms, also of Wheatland, claimed the grand champion first-time entrant title. They and other top finishers were honored during the World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI, last week.

Gara says attending the dairy expo and entering the forage superbowl helps broaden his hay market. He made contacts and sold to several new dairy hay customers as a result of attending the show last year. The six entries with the highest relative feed values in the Wyoming State Fair hay show were entered in this year's superbowl, according to Scott Keith, Wyoming Business Council livestock and forage program manager, Casper.

Terry Mergen, Bloomington, WI, placed first in the commercial baleage category, while Scott Mayer, Windsor, IL, finished second.

Mike Beun, Waterloo, WI had the grand champion dairy hay entry, and Karl and Barb Wogsland, Scandinavia, WI, placed second. The Wogslands also placed second in the dairy haylage category, won by Peter Juengel, Grand Blanc, MI. Autumn Vista Dairy, McBain, MI, entered the winning standard dairy corn silage; Luke Haywood, Hastings, MI, was runner-up. Pine Tree Dairy Farm, Rittman, OH, had the champion brown midrib dairy corn silage, with Steiner Farms, Sterling, OH, placing second.

Learn more about the Wyoming superbowl winners in the November issue of Hay & Forage Grower.

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Come To The Western Hay Business Conference & Expo
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

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State Reports
Now that freight prices are coming down, Ron Tombaugh, Dart Hay Service, Streator, IL, says he's getting even more calls from prospective hay customers in the Southeast and West. He finished baling straw two weeks ago, and was finishing his fourth and last hay cutting last week. "We got 15" of rain in August and September," Tombaugh reports. "We had to make some baleage. All of the rain was good for the mixed hay because the grasses did well. We had so much rain in both August and September that we have been able to bale volunteer oats and wheat." Yields this year were twice as high as in 2005, when Illinois was in a drought situation. Tombaugh is the new first vice president of the National Hay Association. He was attending the World Dairy Expo last week, helping promote hay to dairy producers in the NHA booth.

Fall pastures have been good for grazing, but bad for hay demand in Illinois, according to USDA. Most of the interest in hay still comes from the horse industry, with some light demand coming from beef producers. Straw prices were steady last week, with light demand from landscapers still finishing fall seeding. USDA is predicting better interest in straw for the fall decorating season. Demand has been light to moderate for the moderate to heavy supply of straw.

Contact Tombaugh at 309-369-2480 or 309-531-4229 (cell).

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Hay prices are good and demand is high in Nebraska. There was quite a variance in moisture in the state this summer. Eastern Nebraska was wet during the fourth alfalfa cutting, with some growers getting more than 20" of rain in August. Western Nebraska was extremely dry and the dry conditions seem to be persisting, according to Barb Kinnan, executive director of the Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association (NAMA). "Some producers are getting some nice hay put up now, but hay supplies are definitely down," she says. "Last year at World Dairy Expo we had nearly 30,000 tons of hay on the inventory list; this year we have less than 8,000 tons on the list. People who are looking for hay in January are going to have a tough time." Kinnan says the heaviest demand and biggest price increase has been for low-quality hay.

"Grinding hay has really jumped in price because of the demand in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas," says Steve Rice, Wilsonville, NE. "It's hard to find enough stock cow hay. The number of tons of dairy hay is way down, too, and lots of people are sold out." Rice says it was hard to schedule trucks last year, but trucking is more available now. Fuel prices have been tough during the last year, but customers understand the situation. Rice has been facing dry weather with untimely rains in his area. He's working on his fifth cutting.

Monday and Tuesday of this week brought a slow, steady rain. As of Tuesday, Rice's area had received 1 1/2" and it was still raining. "We might be losing a few tons on fifth crop, but we sure needed the moisture," he says.

Rice and Kinnan were working to promote Nebraska hay at a booth at the World Dairy Expo. Learn more about NAMA at or contact Kinnan at 800-743-1649. Contact Rice at 308-349-4231.

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South Dakota
Hay demand has been very good in southeastern South Dakota, according to Gary Smith, Mission Hill. Before attending the World Dairy Expo, Smith had been working on his fifth cutting last week. After battling a very dry summer, parts of southeastern South Dakota received as much as 8" of rain in August and September. The challenging summer meant Smith only ended up with about 60% of his normal production. "Our third and fourth cuttings didn't amount to much, which meant we ended up with less hay for the year, even with the fifth cutting."

Smith sells to the dairy and horse markets throughout the U.S. He was recently elected second vice president of the National Hay Association. Contact him at 605-665-5479.

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Wyoming hay growers are reporting tight supplies and high demand because of the drought in Texas and Oklahoma. Much of this year's Wyoming hay has been shipped to those states and Colorado. Wyoming growers are struggling with a seven-year drought themselves, according to Bill Reed, Casper. "We had a good snow-pack last winter, but then we had some 100-degree days in May when we lost our snow-pack and the water soaked into the ground," he reports. "On those 100-degree days, growing alfalfa on irrigation was great." Reed says his first cutting was sold by the time it was baled. Some growers are finishing up their third cutting, while others are concluding their fourth.

Producers are anticipating a shortage of cow hay in the state this winter, says Ervin Gara III, Torrington. "Range conditions have been bad," he explains. "People were bringing cows off pasture and into the feedlots in July. Wyoming usually has enough hay produced, but the Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado situation means a lot of low-quality hay is gone." Growers may have the opportunity to send high-quality hay out of the state and back-haul cow hay, says Scott Keith, Wyoming Business Council Agribusiness Division livestock and forage program manager, Casper.

Reed, Gara and Keith were at the World Dairy Expo promoting Wyoming hay in a tent sponsored by the Wyoming Business Council. Gara was the World's Forage Analysis Superbowl grand champion. Reed placed third in the commercial hay category.

Reed produces 1,500 tons of dairy and horse hay per year on 300 acres, and custom harvests 1,000 acres. His area received just under 1" of wet snow early this week. Contact him at 307-267-4677. Gara grows 3,000 acres of hay, primarily targeting the dairy market, and also runs a 300-head cow-calf herd. Contact him at 307-532-1746. Learn more about Wyoming hay by contacting Keith at 307-237-4696.

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Sunbelt Ag Expo Is Oct. 17-19
A forage quality competition and an educational program geared toward producing quality forage will be featured during the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition in Moultrie, GA, Oct. 17-19. The winning entries in the third annual Southeastern Hay Contest will be on display in the Bill Patten Cattle Pavilion during the expo.

Presentations by extension forage specialists will take place at the north end of the Livestock Pavilion at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily. Donald Ball, Auburn University, will speak on "Hay Storage and Feed" on Tuesday, Oct. 17; John Andrae, Clemson University, will discuss "Producing and Feeding-Round Bale Silage" on Wednesday, Oct. 18; and Ann Blount, University of Florida, will present, "Winter Forage Variety Selection" on Thursday, Oct. 19.

Learn more about the Sunbelt Ag Expo at

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**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.

**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 -- The Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association's 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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