S&W Seed Exports Dormant Alfalfa Seed

S&W Seed Company has exported its first shipments of commercial dormant alfalfa seed to China, according to a press release posted by the Wall Street Journal.

“For the last 30 years, S&W Seed Company has focused on the 'non-dormant' alfalfa seed market. … This shipment into China marks the first time that we offer our 'dormant' alfalfa seed product on a commercial scale, providing the company with a significant growth opportunity,” says Mark Grewal, its president and chief executive officer.

The company has expanded its global reach in recent years, including the planting of dormant alfalfas in hay trials in China. Early results from those ongoing trials, which evaluate forage quality, yield and persistence, were “strong,” the company reports.

Ergot Poisoning In Missouri

Missouri producers and ranchers should be on the lookout for ergot infections in pasture grasses, according to University of Missouri Extension specialists. The toxic fungus can be especially prevalent in early July.

“ ’It will be another ergot year,’ said Tim Evans, toxicologist in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. Ergot appeared in pockets of Missouri in 2013.”

To get a look at how ergot infects grass seed heads, see the photo with our 2013 story reporting ergot problems: “Ergot Fungus Causes Cattle Deaths In Missouri Pastures.”

Iowa Cellulosic Ethanol

Quad County Corn Processors recently became the first company in Iowa to produce commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol, the Des Moines Register reports.

“The northwest Iowa company produced a limited amount Monday but plans to quickly scale-up so that it's producing about 2 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol a year.”

Quad County beat major players DuPont-Pioneer and Poet for the distinction. Those companies are in the midst of building facilities in Iowa to produce cellulosic ethanol. According to Matt Darr, the Iowa State University ag engineer who spoke at the recent Hay & Forage Expo, DuPont-Pioneer and Poet will produce a combined total of more than 50 million gallons per year of ethanol from corn stover within the next year or so. Corn stover harvests will provide area growers and custom harvesters with a number of opportunities, according to the story, “Feeding Biofuel Plants: Current Equipment Can Work.”

Stock Up On Distillers Grains

Because of recent price reductions, livestock producers should consider buying and storing distillers grains as part of their feed rations’ protein and energy contents, according to University of Nebraska Extension.

“When considering purchasing and storage of distillers grain it is important to evaluate and include all of the loss and waste from the time of purchase till the product is actually delivered to and consumed by cattle.”

Tumbleweed Machine

A Colorado county has turned an old forage harvester into a tumbleweed-eating machine, reports Fox 21 News. The machine grinds up tumbleweeds that pile up in ditches.

“One of the modifications that were added to the machine was a piece that came from a swather … Coolers have also been added to keep the machine from over-heating. … ‘It was trial and error when making the transformation.’ ” says Don Rivera, an El Paso County, mechanic who helped make those alterations.