Iowa

It's been a challenging year for raising alfalfa in southwestern Iowa, reports Joe Heese, Harlan regional manager of Farm Partners Supply, Harlan, IA. "We got 2' of snow on Easter weekend; then it rained and rained early in the season, followed by no rain for two months straight. It rained 4" in one night in August and hasn't seemed to stop raining since," he says.

Heese manages the production of around 2,000 acres of alfalfa for the farming collaboration. The group uses six propane-fired hay dryers and an on-site NIR testing machine to help fine-tune cutting and quality strategies. Managing fertility is a key component to successful hay production, Heese says. "We have a grassland bar for applying manure on our fields. My research proves this is a good way to improve fertility and many people don't realize it."

A 6,000-cow dairy began operation six miles from the Farm Partners Supply headquarters this year, opening a new marketing opportunity. "Now we can sell haylage while working with the dairy to create a win-win situation for both of our businesses," Heese states. Read more about his company's hay operation in two Hay and Forage Grower articles. "World-Class Hay" can be found at hayandforage.com/mag/farming_worldclass_hay/index.html, while "NIR On The Farm" is at hayandforage.com/mag/farming_nir_farm/index1.html.

Contact Heese at 712-235-4650.

New Jersey

It has been an extremely dry year in New Jersey, according to Roger Winner, owner of Sunnyside Hay & Straw, Mt. Holly. Winner raises and sells premium long rye straw, along with some hay, to the horse market in the Philadelphia area. He's located 15 miles east of that city. "Quality was good but the quantity of rye straw wasn't," he reports. "We usually get 3-4 tons per acre, but this year we were only able to get 2-3 tons/acre. Prices have been strong this year, though."

Winner grows around 600 acres of rye and experimented with 20 acres of teff hay this year. "The horse market is looking for a soft hay and the teff seems to be fine-stemmed, which is one thing we liked about it," he says. Winner sells all of his product in small, square bales, mostly through hay brokers.

Contact Winner at 609-267-6839.