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 A Prism Business Media Publication November 7, 2006 |  
Ehay WEEKLY CONTENTS
Horse Hay Buyers Seek Consistent Quality, Clean Hay
Top of the News Dairy Goat, Sheep Milk Producers Plan Growth
State Reports Arizona Ontario
Events Dairy Day Offers Forage Info Weed Science Meeting Set For Dec. 11-14 Calendar
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Horse Hay Buyers Seek Consistent Quality, Clean Hay
(Part 2 of two-part series)
Hay producers need to pay close attention to what their clients are looking for and fit their hay products to customer needs, says Randy Samko, vice president of Seminole Feeds, Ocala, FL. That's particularly important when selling premium hay to the horse market.

"Horse owners are looking for consistent quality in the hay they buy," he says. "A nice, green color is very important, and we need to be able to supply clean hay free of dust and mold." Horse owners like to see good leaf retention and variety purity. "I have seen customers walk away from alfalfa hay because they could see six heads of timothy showing," he says. When Samko buys, he looks for alfalfa cut before bud stage to prevent possible toxic blister beetle contamination. He suggests hay producers carry liability insurance in case a customer's animal gets sick or dies and the hay is blamed.

Before jumping into a particular hay market, hay producers should ask themselves four key questions Samko urges:

What is my product? "Be realistic about what you can provide," Samko says. "If you have brown heads in your hay, it is not a super-premium hay as far as your customer is concerned. Can you produce the consistent quality your market will demand? Can you guarantee the product?"

Who is my customer? Figure out if you can consistently meet customer needs. What type of bale weight is the customer looking for? Does the customer want straight or mixed hay?

Where can I sell what I have? "Think about whether you want to sell directly to the customer. Maybe it would work better to sell through a feed store, or maybe you want your customers to come to your farm to pick up their hay," Samko suggests. "Or would you be better served selling through a hay broker who can find a home for all of your hay?"

How am I going to get the hay to the customer? "Consider the logistics," Samko says. "Does the customer have a place to unload and store the hay? If the customer is seeking a large amount of hay, does he have the space for a semi to maneuver and unload? Will you store the hay for your customers until they need it?"

Seminole Feeds buys several semi loads of baled hay per week from throughout the U.S. to sell to Southeastern horse owners. The company sells alfalfa, timothy, bermudagrass, orchardgrass/alfalfa and timothy/alfalfa hay in square bales weighing just under 75 lbs. Seminole Feeds also makes 41 horse feeds and sells them through three company stores in Marion County, FL, and through 150 independent feed dealers in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama. The company helps 20,000 customers feed 50,000 horses every day, says Samko. Learn more about Seminole Feeds at www.seminolefeed.com/index.asp. Contact Samko at 800-683-1881.

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Top of the News
Dairy Goat, Sheep Milk Producers Plan Growth
More than half of all dairy goat and sheep milk producers in Wisconsin plan to increase the size of their milking herds during the next five years, according to the Wisconsin Agriculture Statistics Service (WASS). Yet another potential market for hay growers.

The report shows Wisconsin's 165 licensed milking goat herds produced 27.6 million pounds of milk in the last year, with total receipts of $7.57 million and an average price of $27.90/cwt. Wisconsin's 11 licensed milking sheep herds produced 829,300 lbs of milk, with an average price of $55.50/cwt.

Of the dairy goat herds, 90 farms milk between 1 and 100 goats, 56 farms milk 101 to 200 goats and 19 farms milk more than 201. More than 80% of Wisconsin's goat milk is sold to processing plants, and nearly three-quarters of the milk is sold within Wisconsin, the report says.

Sheep dairies are milking a total of 2,250 ewes, with an average milk production per ewe at 369 lbs. Sixty percent of the operations have sold sheep milk for six or more years. None said they planned on discontinuing production in the next five years, while 56% plan on increasing the size of their milking herds.

The surveys were a joint effort between the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and WASS.

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State Reports
Arizona
The hay market is strong in his area, reports Harold Payne, Gilbert. "Hay prices are the highest I've seen in my lifetime." Payne owns a retail store and sells 95-lb bales to horse owners around Phoenix and Scottsdale. Customers can buy and take hay from the store or have it shipped. Payne sells a No. 1, premium alfalfa bale for $9. He raises 700 acres of hay in addition to more than 1,000 acres of pecans and citrus. He normally gets about eight cuttings per year on his hay. He cuts every 28 days until September, then every 40 days thereafter. This year he got seven cuttings after a cold spring and wet summer slowed production.

Contact Payne at 602-531-4600.

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Ontario
Most Ontario hayfields experienced strong fall regrowth, with some unusually heavy top growth, according to reports from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs. Most areas in southern Ontario experienced excellent seasonal forage yields with good quality. Stored hay and haylage inventories are at average to very high levels, with downward pressure on prices compared to those of a year ago. The most notable exception is the northwestern portion of the province -- yields and inventories were significantly reduced in Algoma, Manitoulin, Rainy River and Kenora. In some parts of the province, such as the east-central areas, high seasonal forage yields provided great recovery after the dry weather and hay shortages of 2005.

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Events
Dairy Day Offers Forage Info
The use of forage testing in formulating dairy rations and alfalfa variety research are topics that will be covered at the University of Wisconsin's Arlington Dairy Day on Dec. 13. The event will be held at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station Public Events Center. Sponsors are University of Wisconsin-Extension, UW-Madison Department of Dairy Science and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Program topics and speakers include: "Review of Available Forage Tests and Their Use in Formulating Dairy Rations" -- Dave Combs, dairy scientist; "Next Generation of Ethanol Feed Byproducts" -- Lou Armentano, dairy scientist; and "Pen Moves, Stocking Density and Fresh Cow Health" -- Ken Nordlund, veterinarian.

Participants can also choose four of seven breakout session presentations on the following topics:

"Silage Leachate and Runoff Management" -- Brian Holmes, ag engineer; "Milking Performance: A Study of Wisconsin Dairy Operations" -- Pam Ruegg, extension milk quality specialist; "Corn Silage Hybrid Selection (Part I)" -- Joe Lauer, extension corn agronomist; "Corn Silage Hybrid Selection (Part II)" -- Lauer; "What's New with Alfalfa in Wisconsin" -- Bill Kojis, agronomist; "Monitoring Apparent Ammonia -- N Loss in Freestall Barns under Farm-Like Conditions" -- Michel Wattiaux, dairy scientist; and "Current Thinking on Managing Dry Period Length" -- Ric Grummer, dairy scientist.

Program registration fee is $25/person if sent by Nov. 29, and $35/person after that. The fee includes refreshments, lunch and program proceedings. Checks should be made payable to UW-Madison and sent to: Department of Dairy Science, UW Arlington Dairy Day, Animal Sciences Room 266, 1675 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706. An electronic version of the brochure is available at www.wisc.edu/dysci.

For registration information, contact Jody Schultz at 920-386-3790. For other information, contact Bob Kaiser, UW-Extension dairy specialist, 920-386-3790 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays or 608-263-9411 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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Weed Science Meeting Set For Dec. 11-14
The North Central Weed Science Society annual meeting will be Dec. 11-14 at the Hyatt Regency in Milwaukee, WI. The meeting, themed "Weeds: Old Timers and New Arrivals," will include research presentations in oral and poster formats, as well as symposiums on invasive weeds, glyphosate resistance and adjuvants.

Discussions on "Glyphosate Weed Management" and "What Makes a Resistant Weed Resistant?" will be hosted by extension on Dec. 14. For additional information, visit NCWSS.org.

Source: University of Illinois.

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Calendar
**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, 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 dhputnam@ucdavis.edu, or Glenn Shewmaker at 208-736-3608 or gshew@uidaho.edu.

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

**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 dug@plateautel.net or call Gina Sterrett at 505-626-5677.

**Jan. 24-25 -- Heart Of America Grazing Conference, Holiday Inn, Mount Vernon, IL. Contact Justin Sexten, University of Illinois, at 618-242-9310 or sexten@uiuc.edu.

**Feb. 6-7 -- The Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association's Mid-America Alfalfa Expo, Buffalo County Fairgrounds, Kearney, NE. Visit www.alfalfaexpo.com or call Barb Kinnan at 800-743-1649.

**Feb. 7-8 -- Utah Hay & Forage Symposium, Holiday Inn Resort, St. George, UT. Contact Thomas Griggs at 435-797-2259 or tgriggs@ext.usu.edu.

**Feb. 9 -- Ohio Forage & Grassland Council Annual Conference, Reynoldsburg. Contact Mark Sulc at 614-292-9084.

**Feb. 22 -- Kentucky Alfalfa Conference, Cave City Convention Center. Learn more at www.uky.edu/Ag/Forage.

**Feb. 26-27 -- 2007 Idaho Alfalfa & Forage Conference, Red Lion Canyon Springs Hotel, Twin Falls, ID. More details will be available at www.idahohay.com.

**Feb. 28-March 2 -- National Grassfed Beef Conference, Grantville, PA. Contact John Comerford at 814-863-3661 or jxc555@gmail.com, or Dave Hartman at 570-784-6660, ext. 12, or dwh2@psu.edu.

**March 13-14 -- 2007 Midwest Hay Business Conference & Expo, KCI Expo Center, Kansas City, MO. Learn more at hayconference.com/conference/index.htm.

**March 14-15 -- 2007 Manitoba Forage Symposium, MacDon Product Showcase Building, Winnipeg, MB, CA. For more info, visit www.mbforagecouncil.mb.ca or contact Tanis Sirski at 204-768-2781 or tsirski@gov.mb.ca.

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

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Comments from Readers
Send Questions & Comments To...

Lora Berg, Editor, eHay Weekly,

hfg@hayandforage.com

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