By Glenn Shewmaker
Extension Forage Specialist
University of Idaho
Drought and range fires are a double-barreled threat to some southwest Idaho beef producers. Federally managed rangelands will likely restrict grazing for two to three years to allow the native species to recover. Several producers were totally burned out, had to euthanize some cattle, and because of the drought are facing a shortage of hay and pasture on their private land. Range and forest fires have burned over 400,000 acres so far, mostly in southwestern and northern Idaho.
Extension faculty has alerted producers about the possibility of high nitrates in forages because of some heat and drought stress. Fortunately producers are testing and finding more than expected moderate to very high nitrate levels in cereal hays, sorghum, sudangrass and even cool season grass pastures.Feeder hay supplies are above average except for the drought-affected areas, but dairy hay supply is short. The last cutting is starting for most areas.
Forage Extension Specialist
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Dry weather followed by rain in the late summer and early fall has meant an army of fall armyworms in pastures and hay meadows in Texas, especially East Texas. The best time to scout for fall armyworms is in the early morning and during cool, cloudy weather. Scouting involves getting down on hands and knees and examining the grass canopy closely for armyworms. Other insect pests such as bermudagrass stem maggot and the sugarcane aphid continue to be a problem, though sugarcane aphid populations have not been as high in 2015 as they were in 2014. Farmers and ranchers are preparing their fields for winter forages (annual ryegrass, oats, wheat and rye). After a short hay season, many are looking for hay to purchase or are planning on establishing some winter pastures for livestock. With predictions of a wet winter, producers have their fingers crossed for a successful winter forage season.
Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association
Alfalfa third cutting is at 94 percent complete, ahead of 89 percent complete for last year and the 88 percent average. Fourth cutting is at 29 percent complete, ahead of 17 percent complete for both last year and the average. Yields seem to be average but quality is below average.
The latest frustration coming from producers has been test results. Producers feel they have done everything right and have some great looking third cutting hay baled. Expecting to see test results of 180 relative feed value (RFV) or better, producers are receiving results of 150 RFV or often times much lower. This has been the trend from multiple testing labs and from multiple areas across the state. Forage labs are attributing these low tests to weather.
The good news is that late third cutting and fourth cutting test results are finally showing up with 180 RFV and better.