May 29, 2018

• The University of Wisconsin Extension’s Pricing Standing Hay app is now available for both Android and IOS smartphones.

• Scientists with USDA-ARS have developed a web-based tool to predict grass availability in the Northern Great Plains. Grass Cast uses 30 years of historical data to predict if rangelands in individual counties are likely to produce above normal, near normal, or below normal amounts of vegetation for grazing.

• A reminder from Penn State that cherry trees are a source of livestock cyanide poisoning.

• There has been a lot of positive reporting during the past week that milk prices will be on the rise during the remainder of 2018.

• Be sure to check out the many excellent forage programs and events being offered this summer.

May 22, 2018

• Milk production in the U.S. during April totaled 18.4 billion pounds, up 0.6 percent from April 2017 but down 0.3 percent from the previous month. According to last week’s USDA Milk Production report, production per cow averaged 1,961 pounds for April, 9 pounds above April 2017.

• The number of milk cows on farms in the U.S. was 9.40 million head, 8,000 head more than one year ago, but 2,000 head less than March 2018.

• Stocking rate reductions may soon be needed in North Dakota if lingering drought conditions and slow pasture growth don’t improve.

• Texas A&M researchers continue to help improve our understanding of the sugarcane aphid and strategies to minimize its impact.

• Corn planting progress in the U.S. has been impressive during the past two weeks with 81 percent of the crop in the ground. Based on USDA's Crop Progress report, this is exactly on the five-year average and near last year's 82 percent. About half the crop is reported to be emerged.

May 15, 2018

• The U.S. exported 228,203 metric tons (MT) of alfalfa hay in March, according to the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. That was up 15 percent from the February total but down 16 percent from March 2017. In the first quarter of 2018, total alfalfa hay exports are down 13 percent from one year ago.

• Alfalfa exports to the U.S.’s five biggest trade partners during March were all below 2017 volumes except for Saudi Arabia, which was up 25 percent.

• China imported 91,278 MT of U.S. alfalfa during March. That was up slightly from their February total but off 25 percent of last year’s 121,371 MT March total. According to The Hoyt Report, Chinese buyers are waiting to see what level of prices will be offered on the Pacific Northwest’s new crop alfalfa.

• Wondering which seed brands survived the Dow-DuPont merger? Here’s your answer.

• Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University extension livestock marketing specialist, estimates losses from the state’s recent wildfires at $26.4 million for cattle operations. A whopping $16.4 million of that total encompasses fence replacement and repair.

May 8, 2018

• Almonds continue to replace other crops in California. Last year, there were 1.33 million acres of almonds grown in the Golden State. That’s 7.3 percent more than 2016. At the same time, corn acres were down 33.8 percent from 2007 and hay acres were down 30 percent.

• USDA’s Economic Research Service reports that net farm income is expected to decline $4.3 billion (6.7 percent) from 2017 to $59.5 billion in 2018. That’s the lowest net farm income level in nominal dollar terms since 2006. Net cash farm income is forecast to drop $5.0 billion (5.1 percent) to $91.9 billion in 2018, the lowest level since 2009.

• Cash receipts from marketings of meat animals totaled $88.4 billion in 2017, according to USDA. This was up 7 percent from the previous year. Cattle and calves accounted for 76 percent of this total.

• There are two regional corn silage conferences planned for June. A Silage for Beef Cattle Conference will be held June 14 in Mead, Neb., and an Iowa-Wisconsin Silage Conference is slated for June 21 in Dubuque, Iowa.

• The Pasture Project is offering a free, three-part webinar series titled Adaptive Grazing 101 that will begin May 24 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. CST. It will feature Mississippi native Allen Williams, a pioneer in the grassfed beef movement and advocate for many other grazing initiatives.

May 1, 2018

• Losses in Oklahoma from the most recent wildfires are significant. Agriculture officials point to the loss of more than 1,100 cattle. Homes, equipment, and many miles of fence were also destroyed. Fifty-two counties have been declared disaster areas, and more than 320 thousand acres have burned. Information on relief efforts can be found here.

• Rain hampered the harvest of a lot of alfalfa in California’s Central Valley, according to The Hoyt Report. The delayed cutting resulted in less-than-desired forage quality.

• Prices of alfalfa hay delivered to Central Valley dairies are mostly $40 to $50 above one year ago, though not all dairies are willing to pay the higher prices. Delivered prices of Supreme and Premium hay are ranging from $275 to $300 per ton.

• As of the end of last week, corn planting was well behind normal. According to USDA's Crop Progress report released yesterday, only 17 percent of corn acres are planted. That compares to 32 percent last year at the same time and a past five-year average of 27 percent.

• In last week’s Illinois Production Cost Report, the average cost of nitrogen in dry urea was 39 cents per pound. Potash was reported at about 30 cents per pound.

• This reminder from New York crop consultant Tom Kilcer: If it comes down to choosing between planting corn or harvesting forage at the proper time this spring, the correct economic decision is to harvest the forage for optimum quality.

• Penn State entomologists are reporting that alfalfa weevil activity is being seen across their state.