By Glenn Shewmaker
Extension Forage Specialist
University of Idaho
Hot growing conditions in Idaho will probably reduce forage quality for alfalfa, but is good news for corn growth. In the last 30 days (June 9 to July 9), there have been 13 days with maximum air temperature over 90°F at Kimberly in south central Idaho. The resulting evapotranspiration (ET) for alfalfa averaged 0.28 inches of water per day. Irrigation systems have been struggling to keep up, as many are not designed to apply more than 0.25 inches per day. Yields for the month may be a little below normal to normal, but I expect high lignin and fiber levels. I think there is abundant feeder-quality hay but a shortage of dairy-quality hay.
Some of the smaller irrigation basins are beginning to run out of irrigation water, but the larger projects along the Snake River will have adequate supplies for the remainder of the summer. In dry land production areas, yields will be down considerably, especially in northern Idaho where it has been hot and dry.
By Vanessa Corriher-Olson
Forage Extension Specialist
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Parts of Texas are finally beginning to dry out enough for hay harvesting and herbicide applications. Many producers are just now completing their first hay cutting for the season. Hay quality will be reduced due to delayed harvest, delayed herbicide applications, and delayed fertilizer applications. Some pastures and hay meadows are still not traversable with heavy equipment due to water in low-lying areas. Insect pests are becoming an issue all over the state. Despite above average rainfall, grasshopper populations are beginning to grow and damage valuable forage. In the central part of the state, sugarcane aphids have been found in many forage sorghum fields. Insecticide applications will be necessary, as most producers will start harvesting sorghum silage soon. The bermudagrass stem maggot is impacting more forage fields this year than in previous years. Bermudagrass stem maggot management recommendations for hay meadow damage are to harvest hay as soon as possible to reduce the yield impact.
By Barb Kinnan
Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association