July 17, 2018

• There’s still relatively bleak news on the alfalfa hay export front. China imported 86,146 metric tons (MT) in May, according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. That’s down nearly 10,000 MT from April and 27 percent below one year ago.

• Totaling the first five months of the year, U.S. alfalfa hay exports to China are off 21 percent. That’s significant, but not as drastic as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). That country’s 2018 total through May of 47,477 MT is 68 percent below last year.

• The one bright spot on the alfalfa export scene continues to be Saudi Arabia. Their purchase of 155,323 MT of alfalfa hay from January through May is up 17 percent from last year.

• Idaho Lieutenant Governor Brad Little, University of Montana professor Dave Naugle, and Arizona Farm Bureau President Stefanie Smallhouse recently provided testimony at the Subcommittee on Federal Lands hearing for eliminating regulatory burdens and legal loopholes impacting livestock grazing on federal land.

• The Western Kentucky Forage Tour will be held August 7 at the farm of Toby and Debby Dulworth. It should be a good one as the farm is host to a number of summer annual forage field plots that were planted by University of Kentucky Extension forage specialist Chris Teutsch. The Dulworths also graze an impressive herd of Herefords.

July 10, 2018

• Add Arkansas to the list of states with growing drought concerns for livestock and forage producers.

• Here is some advice on when to harvest your small grains for forage.

• A trade war could have huge ramifications on the agriculture sector, according to this feature and graphic in Fortune magazine.

• China’s 25 percent tariff on U.S. alfalfa hay kicked in on July 6. Most experts feel that if the policy extends too long, China will be shopping elsewhere and the country’s dairy farmers will learn to feed alfalfa alternatives.

• Finally, from South Dakota State University comes a reminder to watch for blister beetles in alfalfa.

July 3, 2018

• Harvested dry hay acres in the U.S. are expected to increase by 1.3 million (2.4 percent) in 2018, according to last week’s USDA Acreage report. Alfalfa harvested hay acres are projected to jump by nearly 5 percent.

• Both corn and soybean acreage is expected to decline by 1 percent compared to last year.

• Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market (feedlots with over 1,000 or more head) totaled 11.6 million on June 1, based on USDA’s Cattle on Feed report. The inventory was 4 percent above one year ago. This is the highest June 1 inventory since this metric was initiated in 1996. Marketings of fed cattle during May totaled 2.06 million head, 5 percent above 2017.

• It was announced last week that DLF Pickseed has acquired all of the assets and business interests of La Crosse Seed. The latter distributes forage, turfgrass, and cover crop seeds throughout the Midwest and will retain its name.

• Wallace Center's Pasture Project is offering a free, four-part webinar series titled "Expanding Forage Options for Adaptive Grazing."