November 27, 2018
• University of Minnesota Extension will be offering online certificate courses addressing hay production, manure management, and feeding for horses. The courses begin on January 4. Click here for more information.
• Once again defying supply-demand theories of economics, U.S. milk production during October totaled 17.9 billion pounds, up 0.8 percent from October 2017. Based on USDA’s Milk Production report, year-over-year milk production has been higher for every month during 2018.
• All of the higher milk output is coming from improved production per cow. The number of milk cows on farms in October was 9.37 million head, 30,000 head less than one year ago and 2,000 head less than September 2018.
• Cattle and calves on feed for the U.S. slaughter market (feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head) totaled 11.7 million head on November 1, according to USDA’s Cattle on Feed report. The inventory was 3 percent above one year ago. Placements in feedlots during October totaled 2.25 million head, 6 percent below 2017.
November 20, 2018
• Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $14.47 per hour during the October reference week based on USDA’s Farm Labor report. This was up 8 percent from the previous year. Wage rates differed depending on the U.S. region.
• Field workers received an average of $13.74 per hour, up 7 percent from the 2017 October reference week. Livestock workers earned $13.38, up 9 percent from the previous year. The combined field and livestock worker earned $13.64 per hour, up 8 percent from 2017. Hired laborers worked an average of 41.5 hours during the week, down only slightly from a year earlier.
• Look for NAFA’s Alfalfa Variety Ratings booklet in the November issue of Hay & Forage Grower, which mailed late last week. The booklet contains alfalfa variety ratings for fall dormancy, winter survival, pest resistance, grazing tolerance, and standability.
• For the year-to-date through October, smaller two-wheel drive tractors under 40 horsepower (HP) are up 10 percent from last year, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturer's monthly Flash Report. Sales of tractors between 40 and 100 HP are up 2 percent, while sales of two-wheel drive tractors that are 100 or more HP are up 6 percent. Four-wheel drive tractors are up 14 percent in 2018.
• A final reminder that Hay & Forage Grower is accepting applications for our 2019 summer editorial intern through December 3. More information is available here.
November 13, 2018
• Tariffs and water shortages in Saudi Arabia are turning the alfalfa hay export picture upside down. For September, the Saudis bumped China from the No. 1 spot as an importer of U.S. alfalfa, according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For the past number of years, such a turnaround seemed improbable.
• The U.S. exported 62,341 metric tons (MT) of alfalfa to Saudi Arabia in September compared to 53,032 MT going to China. Year-over-year, Saudi Arabia’s September total was up 49 percent, while China was down by 32 percent.
• Alfalfa hay exports to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were also up substantially in September. Their monthly total of 42,160 MT dwarfed the 12,396 MT that the nation imported one year ago. In both April and May of this year, the UAE only imported around 6,000 MT of U.S. alfalfa.
• Year-to-date through September, U.S. alfalfa hay exports totaled 1,916,018 MT, down 7 percent from 2017.
• Corn production in the U.S. is now pegged at 14.6 billion bushels, down 1 percent from last month’s forecast but still slightly higher than 2017. Corn yields are expected to average 178.9 bushels per acre, 2.3 bushels higher than last year.
November 6, 2018
• In contrast to cropland, acres of permanent pasture and rangeland have shifted toward smaller farms since the 1980s, according to USDA.
• Researchers at the Noble Research Institute recently developed and released a new crabgrass variety called Impact.
• The Second World Alfalfa Congress will be held in Cordoba, Argentina from November 11 to 14.
• Here are some good tips from Alabama Extension on supplementing cattle this winter.
• The National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance (NAFA) has announced that they are accepting Round 2 applications for research proposals being funded by the U.S. Alfalfa Farmer Research Initiative (the alfalfa checkoff program).