Aug. 3, 2015 08:00 AM

Visits to New York, Georgia, Michigan, California

By Ev Thomas
Oak Point Agronomics, New York

Precipitation totals vary widely within New York state, with the northeastern portions still trying to dig (or perhaps wade) out of the 15 inches of rain that fell in June. Most of the state has had closer to normal precipitation for July with totals ranging from 1.5 inches in Watertown (north) to 5 inches in Binghamton (south), and currently the only area with moderate drought conditions is Long Island. In northern New York, corn conditions deteriorate from west to east, due mostly to late planting. On July 24 it was rare to find a field of corn that was tasseled in northeastern New York, while 120 miles west, corn planted in early May had tasseled around July 10.

Growing degree days are about average for northern New York while running 100 to 200 GDD higher than average for the rest of the state, with the hottest temperatures of the season at the end of July. First cut was a disaster in much of New York, but some very nice second-cut alfalfa silage has been harvested, including for many areas the first opportunity to harvest baled hay without a rinse cycle.

By Dennis Hancock
Extension Forage Specialist
University of Georgia

At present, the “D-word” is being uttered throughout two-thirds of Georgia. Some amount of drought is affecting the majority of producers, with moderate to severe drought halting forage growth in a band across central and far southern Georgia. Most third cutting bermudagrass is in the barn, but what regrowth hasn’t been bit back by the dry weather has been hit by the bermudagrass stem maggot (BSM). Reports of BSM have increased exponentially and are considered at high levels across the southern three-quarters of Georgia. Corn silage harvest is essentially complete with good yields and quality reported. Third crop plantings in south Georgia are progressing well, but many producers have opted for pearl millet instead of forage sorghum given the prevalence of sugarcane aphids. Fall armyworm populations are building, but I’ve not yet had as many reports as I normally receive at this time of the year.

By Phil Kaatz
Forages & Field Crops Educator
Michigan State University-Extension

July has been a month of change for many hay producers throughout Michigan. Fields have finally dried out and producers have finished or are in the process of finishing second cutting (in the north) or third cutting (in the south) in most locations. Quality and yield for haylage have both been above average for those that have been able to keep up with an aggressive cutting schedule. With the near ideal drying conditions recently, a lot of dry hay has been made, with excellent results for both quality and yield.

While the southern third of Michigan is drying out, areas in the northern third of Michigan and the Upper Peninsula have seen pockets of dry weather that have limited yields for both dry hay and pastures. The corn crop continues to do well in most of the corn silage areas, and preparations for harvest are beginning as producers get their bunk silos ready.

Prices for dairy quality dry hay range from $150 to $175 for good quality, while the bottom tier of low-quality hay from a very mature first cutting is substantially less on a per ton basis.

By Steve Orloff
Farm Advisor/Siskiyou County
University of California-Extension

Abnormal weather continues to affect agriculture and hay production this summer. It has been extremely hot in the Intermountain Region for much of this summer with temperatures over 100°F for an extended time in many locations. In addition, thunderstorms have been commonplace, forcing growers to delay cuttings. For these reasons, Supreme quality alfalfa has been difficult to come by. On the bright side, at the current rate many growers may achieve an extra cutting this year. Spring-seeded alfalfa has come on strong and will be cut three or even four times (one more than usual) this year.

Cool-season grass crops have not fared as well as alfalfa with the intense heat. Some orchardgrass fields are exhibiting very slow growth, and even plant mortality has occurred in some fields for a reason that is not totally understood. In mixed hayfields, the legume component is growing much better than the grasses. Irrigation water is becoming scarce in some locations due to the drought. Predictions for an El Niño condition next year gives hope for a reprieve from this ongoing drought.