July 31, 2018
• This retired University of Florida forage agronomist will celebrate his 106th birthday on August 2.
• Based on the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor, a whopping 53.5 percent of the Continental U.S. is now experiencing some level of drought.
• Northern New York alfalfa growers deal with something that the rest of us are glad we don’t.
• Based on the responses from farmers, ranchers, and agricultural organizations to the announced $12 billion tariff aid package, it’s clear that there is much more interest and desire in a free trade resolution than a restricted trade “make good” package.
• The Southeast Minnesota Forage Council and the Midwest Forage Association will hold a Summer Field Day on August 2 with plenty to see and do.
July 24, 2018
• In a joint statement made last week, Forage Genetics International (FGI) and Alforex Seeds announced a resolution to their ongoing litigation. Though details of the agreement were not forthcoming, we do know that Alforex, Dairyland Seeds, and Mycogen will be marketing alfalfa varieties with FGI’s HarvXtra reduced-lignin trait. The transgenic trait is only sold when packaged with Roundup Ready technology. Alforex will also continue to market its Hi-Gest line of alfalfa varieties.
• Significant damage occurred to the Vermeer manufacturing facility last week when a tornado ripped through Pella, Iowa. Vermeer is a major manufacturer of hay harvest tools and recently unveiled the industry’s first self-propelled round baler.
• The USDA estimated June milk production at 18.3 billion pounds, up 1.2 percent from last year but down 4.4 percent from the previous month. Colorado was up 10.7 percent from its June 2017 total.
• Cattle and calves on feed for the U.S. slaughter market in feedlots with a capacity of more than 1,000 head totaled 11.3 million on July 1. The inventory was 4 percent above one year ago and is the highest July 1 inventory since the series began in 1996. Marketings of fed cattle during June totaled 2.01 million head, 1 percent above 2017.
• All cattle and calves in the U.S. on July 1, 2018 totaled 103 million head, 1 percent more than a year ago. Of this total, 32.5 million are beef cows and 9.4 million are dairy cows.
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."