Prepping Pastures For Winter

Feed decisions livestock producers make now will affect how far they can extend the grazing season into winter. The two main options are stockpiling perennial forages or planting cool-season annuals, says Rory Lewandowski, Ohio State University Extension educator, in OSU’s Forage Focus newsletter. Stockpiling, he says, is the most economical, but takes some planning:

“It may involve taking pasture paddocks out of a late summer grazing rotation. If pasture is limited, feeding hay during the stockpiling time period may be necessary. To those meat animal producers, let me just say that it is ok to feed hay before the snow flies. In fact, setting aside some pastures to stockpile and feeding hay while grass grows has several benefits.”

As we move toward winter, producers should also keep checking for armyworms, at least until the first frost. Western producers should watch for bulbous bluegrass.

Farm Income Report Positive For Hay, Livestock Sectors

USDA predicts a 13.8% drop in farm income this year, largely reflecting an anticipated record corn crop. At the same time, it estimates higher hay, livestock and dairy prices in its 2014 Farm Sector Income Forecast report, released the end of August.

“Higher expected hay receipts reflect forecasts of higher production, drawing down of hay inventories, and higher average prices. … Record-high annual prices are expected for livestock, dairy, and poultry products. Large gains are expected in receipts from sales of cattle and calves, hogs, milk, broilers, and eggs. While beef production is expected to decline in 2014, the annual cattle price is expected to increase dramatically (20.4 percent), to its highest level on record.”

The hay estimates align with other USDA reports calculating that U.S. alfalfa production will grow this year, and that U.S. cropland values are on the rise.

Ethanol Excitement

The grand opening of the Project Liberty cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, IA, will get royal attention, according to a Poet-DSM announcement.

“The Court of His Majesty Willem-Alexander, King of the Netherlands, has announced that the King will attend the Grand Opening of POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels’ Project LIBERTY cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa on Wednesday, Sept. 3. The King will take part in the Grand Opening Ceremony to perform the formal opening activity, scheduled for 11 a.m.-12:20 p.m. and tour the plant.”

The Emmetsburg plant is one of three commercial-size biorefineries being built in Iowa.

Right To Farm

More states may consider constitutional amendments guaranteeing the right to farm, editor Paul Hollis writes at Southeastern Farm Press. Missouri voters narrowly approved a measure in early August, although a recount will be conducted because of the tight margin.

“Why would anyone, you might ask, oppose the right of an individual to farm? But in the “Show Me” state, the message became muddled, and what happened there might be a good lesson for those in other states contemplating a similar move.”