October 31, 2017
• Texas A&M AgriLife Extension estimates the state’s agricultural losses from Hurricane Harvey at $200 million. Livestock losses, which include both cattle and infrastructure, were estimated at $93 million. Extensive hay losses were buoyed by hay and feed donations valued at $1.3 million.
• In Florida, the agricultural damage estimate from Hurricane Irma currently is pegged at $2.5 billion. The majority of that figure rests with the citrus and nursery industries, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Cattle industry losses were estimated at $237.5 million while dairy suffered an $11.8 million loss.
• All systems appear to be “go” for an on-time Farm Bill coming out of the House Ag Committee, according to Brownfield Ag News. The current Farm Bill expires in September 2018.
• AGCO has finalized its acquisition of the forage division of the Lely Group. The Lely hay and forage equipment will be rebranded as Massey Ferguson.
• Weather news . . . NOAA reports that all of the New England states along with New York, Michigan, and Wisconsin experienced one of the warmest Septembers on record in 2017. Also, the chances for a winter La Niña event and its related U.S. weather conditions now stand at 55 to 65 percent.
October 24, 2017
• Good news and bad news on the alfalfa hay export front after the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service reported the August data. First, the good news: Total year-to-date alfalfa exports remain 15 percent ahead of 2016. The bad news: That advantage is down from 21 percent through July as total August alfalfa hay exports (204,067 metric tons) were 18 percent lower compared to 2016.
• Alfalfa hay exports to China in August totaled 93,816 metric tons (MT). This was up by 9,432 MT compared to July but down by nearly 30,000 MT from August 2016. Alfalfa exports to Japan in August totaled 38,201 MT, a slight drop from July, and the third month in a row that they have purchased less U.S. alfalfa hay than the previous month.
• Milk production in the U.S. was up 1.1 percent in September compared to one year ago, according to USDA. However, the total was down 4.9 percent from August. Texas milk production in September was up 10 percent from last year, which led all gainers. California was down 3.4 percent — the largest decline among states.
• The number of milk cows on farms in the U.S. during September was 9.4 million head, 69,000 head more than September 2016, but 4,000 head less than August 2017.
• Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the U.S. for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.8 million head on October 1, according to last week’s USDA Cattle on Feed report. This number was 5 percent above one year ago. Placements in feedlots during September totaled 2.15 million head, up 13 percent from 2016.
October 17, 2017
• Production from U.S. alfalfa and alfalfa-grass mixtures is now forecasted at 56.02 million tons, according to USDA’s October Crop Production report. That’s fractionally down from the 56.18 million tons estimated in August. The reduction is due to a slightly lower forecasted yield (3.27 tons per acre in October versus 3.28 tons per acre in August).
• The U.S. alfalfa production estimate as of October 1 is a little over 2 million tons less than what was harvested in 2016. Average yield is also forecasted to be below last year. Final estimates won’t be available until January 2018.
• Forecasted corn production continues to be a moving target. USDA now pegs production at 14.3 billion bushels, down 6 percent from last year but up 1 percent from the September estimate. Yields are now expected to average 171.8 bushels per acre, up 1.9 bushels from September but down 2.8 bushels from 2016. If realized, this will be the second highest yield and production on record.
• Last week, we mentioned the unexpected passing of the University of California’s Steve Orloff. A tribute to Orloff was posted on UC’s Alfalfa & Forage News website during this past week. Take note of the many comments left by his friends and colleagues from throughout the U.S.
• Legacy Seeds recently broke ground on a new alfalfa breeding and research facility near Waupaca, Wis.
• For current college sophomores or juniors wanting to learn and live the forage life, consider applying for our Hay & Forage Grower summer internship. The application deadline is November 1.
October 10, 2017
• The forage industry will sorely miss one of its best and brightest with the recent death of Steve Orloff, who lost his fight with cancer. Orloff was a long-time extension director and farm advisor in Northern California’s Siskiyou County. His passion for forage research and willingness to share his knowledge were always apparent, as was his sense of humor. Orloff’s premature departure from this life will leave a noticeable void and we send our condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.
• Congratulations to the Halfway High School FFA Chapter’s three-member team from Halfway, Mo., that took first place in the World Forage Management Cup contest held in conjunction with World Dairy Expo last week in Madison, Wis. The Show-Me State team outdistanced a field of 46 competing teams in the contest.
• Think you got it bad? Farmers in Puerto Rico are dealing with crop losses totaling nearly 100 percent and the dairy industry is operating at about 50 percent of capacity, according to Puerto Rico Farm Bureau President Hector Cordero. Movement of feed and milk trucks to the farms is sporadic at best.
• Mycogen Seeds has announced that its brown mid-rib (BMR) corn silage lineup will now include some hybrids having a soft, floury kernel endosperm for improved starch digestibility. The five new hybrids (relative maturities of 94 to 114 days) are being marketed as Unified corn silage with SilaSoft technology and were unveiled at World Dairy Expo last week.
• There’s a slug of forage events being offered during October and November. Check them out here.
October 3, 2017
• U.S. alfalfa exports through July were up 21.3 percent compared to 2016.
• Holstein cows in California were fed 7.03 pounds (dry matter) of alfalfa hay per day during the second quarter of 2017, according to data from the California Department of Food and Agriculture. In 2013, alfalfa consumption during the same time frame was 8.88 pounds per Holstein cow.
• Another grazing operation bites the dust as the last farm in Bloomington, Minn., sold to the city for $32.3 million. It was purchased as a potential site for the 2023 World’s Fair if the city’s hosting bid is successful. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the 59-acre farm had been owned by the same family since 1932 and was mostly used for grazing.
• Amy Freeburg, Gayville, S.D., will take the president’s helm for the National Hay Association in 2017–2018. The Freeburg family operates a hay and grain farm in southeast South Dakota.