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 Hay & Forage
 USDA Hay Prices
 A Prism Business Media Publication October 17, 2006 |  
Send Two-For-One To Hay Business Conference
Top of the News Hay Production Trails 2005 Figures Control Winter Annuals In Alfalfa Now
State Reports Manitoba Midwest
Events Ohio Succession Planning Workshops Set Calendar
Comments from Readers Send Questions & Comments To...

This Week's USDA Hay Prices by State

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Send Two-For-One To Hay Business Conference
Register for next week's Western Hay Business Conference & Expo and take advantage of a buy-one-get-one-free registration offer. The conference will be held Oct. 24-25 at the Red Lion Inn, Spokane, WA. It will include marketing tips from some of the most progressive hay growers in the U.S as well as a hay industry-specific trade show.

Neal Martin, director of the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center in Madison, WI, will update how research is redesigning alfalfa for dairy cattle. Martin also plans to talk about how alfalfa may someday play a bigger role in human nutrition.

The Innovative Hay Grower Panel is expected to be one of the most popular sessions during the conference. Three of the top hay growers in the U.S. will share insights and marketing tips that have made their operations successful. 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.

Another conference speaker, R.L. "Dick" Wittman, Culdesac, ID, says reducing the cost of producing hay may result in as much or more payback than increasing the revenue side of the equation. He'll examine ways hay growers can increase the profitability of their operations during sessions on Oct. 25.

Other speakers 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, too.

Register for $150 for one person and a second person from your operation gets in free. But to get the special offer, you must call 800-722-5334, ext. 14690. To learn more about the conference, visit

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Top of the News
Hay Production Trails 2005 Figures
Last week's USDA Crop Production report predicted 2006 alfalfa and alfalfa mixture production to be around 74.5 million tons, down 2% from last year's number. Yields should average 3.33 tons/acre, down slightly from what was harvested in 2005. Harvested area is forecast at 22.4 million acres, slightly above last year's acreage.

Compared with USDA's August forecast, yields are expected to either remain unchanged or increase across the northern and eastern Corn Belt, and in several states in the Ohio Valley and Pacific Northwest. Adequate rainfall and desirable temperatures in August and September resulted in improved yield expectations.

Production of other hay is forecast at 72.5 million tons, down 3% from 2005 totals. Based on Oct. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 1.80 tons, down 0.11 ton from last year's figure. Harvested area, at 40.3 million acres, is up 3% from the 2005 number.

Yields increased in several states across the U.S. as conditions improved following dry weather in late spring and early summer. Growers in 14 states are expecting higher yields than those reported in the previous forecast. Hay producers in Washington, Texas, Wisconsin, Colorado and Pennsylvania are showing the largest increase, up 0.3 ton from August's number. Meanwhile, a cluster of states in the Ohio Valley and middle Atlantic Coast region are forecast to decrease from August predictions. The largest expected yield decline is in Virginia and Mississippi, both down 0.5 ton.

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Control Winter Annuals In Alfalfa Now
Pennycress, mustards and downy brome have become well-established in alfalfa this fall, says Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska extension forage specialist. Treating them now, before they get more of a stronghold, can help you avoid heavy weed pressure next spring when wet conditions may limit your window of opportunity for treatment.

Check fields now and be prepared to spray them before soils freeze up. Numerous small mustard rosettes or short grass seedlings of downy brome can be found in some fields, suggesting heavy weed growth next spring. If left uncontrolled they could grow rapidly, reduce alfalfa yield, thin stands and lower forage quality.

Three herbicides that can be used now are Sencor, Sinbar, and Velpar. All control pennycress, mustards, and downy brome, Anderson says. You can wait until next spring to treat these weeds, but to avoid injury, spraying must be done before alfalfa greens up. Usually there are only a few days in spring when alfalfa is dormant, weeds are actively growing, and it's not too wet or windy to make an application. Most of the time, fields don't get sprayed at all or they get sprayed late and alfalfa is injured, he adds.

Source: University of Nebraska Crop Watch News Service

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State Reports
Manitoba hay growers struggled with a hot, dry summer this year, reports Nevin Bachmeier, Kleefeld. "We were able to produce quality feed, but not quantities," he explains. Bachmeier has been getting lots of calls from U.S. customers checking on hay supply. "Both South Dakota and Iowa have had drought, so if the hay from North Dakota and Wisconsin goes into South Dakota, Iowa and farther south, that creates a demand for Manitoba hay," he says. Bachmeier, on the board of directors of the Manitoba Forage Council, sells dairy and horse hay on his family farm to customers in Manitoba and the U.S.

Jake Heppner, Altona, MB, started the year off with good moisture, but faced dry conditions in July and August. "The dry conditions were the hottest topic in our area," he says. "We were behind as much as 65% of normal precipitation." Recent rains have helped end the production year on a more positive note. "We got four cuttings this year and we normally only get three," he notes. "We cut at the end of May and then every 28-30 days. We had very nice quality on our third cutting this year. That cutting was not as sun-bleached, and the good, green color sells well." Heppner Farms sells hay and straw to customers in the U.S. and Canada. He delivers within a 600- to 700-mile radius.

Heppner and Bachmeier traveled to World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI, earlier this month to staff a booth promoting Manitoba hay.

Email Bachmeier at Call Heppner at 204-324-1240. Learn more about the Manitoba Forage Council online at

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Midwestern hay sales activity was moderate last week, according to a weekly report from Ken Barnett, University of Wisconsin-Extension. Hay prices were steady in Nebraska, with good overall demand. Temperatures were into the low 20-degree range, which was expected to curtail tonnage for producers who had not yet started fifth cutting.

Iowa hay prices were mixed to $5/ton lower. Demand was moderate to very good. South Dakota hay prices were mixed to $6.90 lower.

Missouri hay prices were steady, with moderate to good demand and moderate to light supply. Even though yields of fall grass hay there may have been less than normal, quality was very good. Supplemental feeding has begun in many areas of the state as dry conditions persist.

Prime hay of greater than 151 RFV/RFQ averaged $118/ton for small squares, $121 for large squares and $99 for large round bales. Grade 1 (125-150 RFV/RFQ) large square bales averaged $82/ton and large round bales averaged $67/ton. Grade 2 (103-124 RFV/RFQ) large square bales averaged $83/ton; large round bales, $56/ton.

Straw prices in the Midwest averaged $2.23/small square bale. Large square bales averaged $24.25; round bales, $23.59. Straw prices increased by 3% from the previous week's total. Large square straw bale prices were down 8% and large round straw bale prices were up 14%.

Learn more at

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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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Ohio Succession Planning Workshops Set
OSU Extension announces four "Building For the Successful Transition of Your Agricultural Business" workshops to be held across Ohio the first part of the new year. Each two-day workshop is designed to help family businesses develop transition plans. Program dates and locations are:

Jan. 23-24 -- Carrollton Days Inn, Carrollton. Call Mike Hogan, 330-627-4310.
Jan. 25 & Feb. 7 -- Northwest State Community College, Archbold. Call Greg LaBarge, 419-337-9210.
Feb. 26-27 -- Deer Creek Resort & Conference Center, Mt Sterling. Call Mike Estadt, 740-474-7534.
Feb. 27 & March 6 -- All Occasion Catering, Waldo. Call Steve Ruhl, 419-947-1070.

All sessions will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Registration will be $75 for the first member of a family and $50 for each additional family member attending. Visit:

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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. 17-18 -- 2007 Washington State Hay Growers Association Annual Conference & Trade Show, Three Rivers Convention Center, Kennewick, WA. Contact the Washington State Hay Growers Association at 509-585-5460 to learn more.

**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

**March 13-14 -- 2007 Midwest Hay Business Conference & Expo, KCI Expo Center, Kansas City, MO. Learn more at

**March 21-22 -- 2007 Central Plains Dairy Expo, Sheraton Inn, Sioux Falls, SD. Learn more at or call Kathy Tonneson at 218-236-8420.

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Comments from Readers
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Lora Berg, Editor, eHay Weekly,

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