Hay Supplies Tight In Northwest,
There just isn't any extra hay sitting around in the
northwestern U.S., reports Jack Getz, USDA Livestock & Grain Market News
Branch, Moses Lake, WA. "If people are looking for hay, they may be
hard-pressed to find exactly what they want and may just have to take
what they can get, quality-wise," he explains. "Horse and feed-store hay
of the better quality is pushing toward $200/ton, which is expensive for
a lot of folks. As far as dairy hay and export hay, those prices are
staying right up there because we just don't have a whole lot of hay.
Prices are holding fairly well and the market is somewhat quiet because
of the lack of available hay."
In California, hay buyers will have to look outside of the three big
"milk shed" regions of the Petaluma, Turlock-Modesto-Escalon, and
Tulare-Hanford-Bakersfield areas to find hay. "People looking for dairy
hay are having to go all the way to southern Oregon, Nevada, Utah or
into the southern desert of California. Even in those areas, hay is not
plentiful, says Getz. Freight costs also become an issue.
Higher grain prices are affecting dairy producers as well. Some growers
with older alfalfa fields are planning to plant corn instead. "If that
corn price stays up there, planting corn looks more attractive than
alfalfa to some producers," Getz says. Some dairy producers are trying
to include more hay in the ration to offset high grain costs. But hay
growers may not be getting much more money because of it. "When milk
prices were lower, alfalfa prices could only go so high because dairymen
were not making very much money due to those low milk prices," Getz
explains. "Now, grain prices are high and even though the milk price has
come up, the money now has to go toward grain."
Beef-cattle producers in California's coastal range are also taking a
share of the hay available. They have had to feed hay sooner than they
normally do because of dry conditions. "This is pulling on supplies of
lower-end hay," says Getz.
Contact Getz at 509-765-3611.
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North Dakota Alfalfa Processing Plant
The Heartland Feed alfalfa processing plant in Tioga,
ND, has ceased operations, according to media reports from Williston.
The plant received over $1.5 million in economic development funding;
some of the money is not likely to be recovered, say state economic
Heartland Feed opened about two years ago with hopes of creating about a
dozen jobs by making alfalfa pellets for sale to livestock handlers
around the world. But a state commerce department official told the
Tioga Tribune that the state is way down the line in recovering
any money from Heartland Feed. A representative of USDA's rural
development office in Bismarck says the local bank that holds the loans
on the business has been trying to sell off the equipment.
Sources: KMXC TV and Tioga Tribune.
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Hay demand has been steady in southwestern Minnesota,
reports Kevin Nelson, Nelson Hay Co., Hadley. "The hay is moving and
prices at local markets seem to be between $5 and $10 higher per ton
than they were one year ago," he says. "With the high corn and soybean
prices, there has been some talk lately about a number of hay acres
coming out of hay production and going into corn. We may see a decline
in alfalfa acres next year because of the price of corn and soybeans in
Nelson says July was extremely dry in his area. "We had no rain at all
in July so our third crop was quite small," he reports. "We got done
baling third crop and then August and September were wet. We didn't
finish baling fourth crop until Oct. 1 and 2 due to the wet weather. We
had excellent quality and quantity with our fourth crop. We had one of
the best fourth crops we have ever had."
Southwestern Minnesota is experiencing dry conditions now. Nelson
estimates that the area is running 2-4" below normal rainfall. His
region got 2" of snow, which melted quickly, in early November. A
¾" rainfall last week has been the only recent precipitation. "We
could use some moisture," he states.
Nelson isn't taking large orders from new customers because he wants to
be sure his regular horse-hay customers are supplied. He notes that
money is getting tighter for horse-hay clients. "We can't really raise
our hay prices even with a shortage of horse hay because the money just
doesn't seem to be there right now. I think we are at the limit of what
our customers can afford," he says.
At local auctions, Nelson notes, there seems to be only a $10 to $15
difference between poor- and good-quality hay.
Contact Nelson Hay Co. at 507-836-6181.
Hay is getting hard to find in Wyoming, according to
reports in the Jackson Hole Star Tribune. Years of drought take
part of the blame because dry range conditions have led to a shortage of
grass around the state. Many ranchers grazed fall and winter pastures
this summer just to get by and will likely have to feed more hay this
Irrigation districts generally had adequate water for producing hay,
leading to average yields on irrigated fields. The big problem was with
ranchers on small tributaries, who produce for their own use. With
little water, they lost yields by as much as 50%, the paper reports.
Intense heat contributed to reduced tonnage.
The Southern Great Plains drought of last winter and spring affected
Wyoming's hay demand. Texas and Oklahoma buyers bought Wyoming hay out
of the field last summer. Thus, supplies of hay that normally would have
been marketed to the Wyoming cow-calf industry are pretty much gone.
There is speculation that cattle producers will have to look outside the
normal marketplace for hay, pay more for it, move their cattle or adjust
their feeding programs. Some ranchers may cull herds deeper than
A few officials estimate that hay prices in parts of the state are
averaging about $20/ton more this year as a result of drought and
supply-and-demand market forces.
Premium Wyoming alfalfa hay sold at auction in Torrington has averaged
$96.22/ton so far this year, compared to $79.58 in 2005, and $80.28 in
Source: Jackson Hole Star Tribune.
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both seedling and established alfalfa can have a significant effect
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Conservation Tillage Meeting Discusses
Spiraling energy costs are forcing farmers to look at
every agronomic practice on their operations, especially tillage. Learn
how conservation tillage can help control input costs at the 2007
Conservation Tillage Conference and Expo, Jan. 30-31. The theme of this
year's conference is "Eye On Energy" and it will be held at the Ramkota
Hotel and Conference Center in Sioux Falls, SD.
University experts and conservation-focused farmers will look at ways
conservation practices can help stretch energy dollars. The conference
provides tillage information for beginners as well as veteran no-till,
strip-till, ridge-till and mulch-till growers. The program offers four
Track I: Learn The Basics: Tillage 101
Track II: Keep Corn-On-Corn Profitable
Track III: Manage Your Energy Costs
Track IV: Match New Technology To Tillage
To register, visit www.tillageconference.com or call 800-722-5334, ext.
14698. The conference is brought to you by The Corn And Soybean
Digest and Farm Industry News.
**Dec. 11-13 -- Western Alfalfa & Forage
Conference, Reno, NV. Contact Dan Putnam at 530-752-8982 or email@example.com, or Glenn
Shewmaker at 208-736-3608 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
**Dec. 13-14 -- Kansas Hay & Grazing Conference, Kansas State
Fairgrounds, Hutchinson. Call Gary Kilgore at 620-431-1530.
**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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
** Jan. 31-Feb 3 -- 2007 Cattle Industry Annual Convention & Trade
Show, Nashville, TN. Learn more at www.beefusa.org/convscheduleofevents.aspx. Contact the
National Cattlemen's Beef Association at 303-694-0305.
**Feb. 6-7 -- The Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association's
Mid-America Alfalfa Expo, Buffalo County Fairgrounds, Kearney. Visit
www.alfalfaexpo.com or call Barb Kinnan at
**Feb. 7-8 -- Utah Hay & Forage Symposium, Holiday Inn Resort,
St. George. Details are available at utahhay.usu.edu, or contact Thomas Griggs at
435-797-2259 or email@example.com.
**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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dave Hartman at
570-784-6660, ext. 12, or email@example.com.
**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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
**March 21-22 -- 2007 Central Plains Dairy Expo, Sheraton Inn,
Sioux Falls, SD. Learn more at www.centralplainsdairyexpo.com/ or call Kathy Tonneson
**June 23-26 -- 2007 American Forage and Grassland Council and
Northeast Branch ASA & SSSA Annual Conference, Penn State Conference
Center and Hotel, State College. Call 800-944-AFGC or email email@example.com.
** Jan 27-Feb. 1, 2008 -- Joint Society for Range Management and
American Forage and Grassland Council Conference, Louisville, KY.
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