October 29, 2019
• Year-over-year milk production in the U.S. jumped 1.3 percent during September, according to USDA’s Milk Production report. All of the increase came from higher production per cow as cow numbers were 53,000 head lower than a year ago. The dairy cow herd, which totaled 9.31 million head, was only 2,000 head fewer than the August figure.
• Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the U.S. (feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head) totaled 11.3 million head on October 1. That inventory was 1 percent below one year ago. Marketings of fed cattle during September totaled 1.74 million head, 1 percent above 2018.
• The Noble Research Institute tells us why not all rainfall is effective.
• Fall is a great time of year to soil test pastures and hayfields. Here are a few tips from Kansas State University.
• On the Halloween front: Pumpkins are grown in all 50 states, but the far and away leader in pumpkin production is Illinois, producing over 500 million pounds annually.
October 22, 2019
• Information from the Noble Research Institute tells us that winter hay substitution comes at a cost.
• Michigan State University offers suggestions and cautions for feeding baleage to small ruminants.
• Fall forage can be a welcome resource, but Ohio State University Extension also points out that there are several potential toxicities that deserve consideration.
• There’s less than one month until the Western Alfalfa & Forage Symposium. Get more information or register here.
• Year-to-date sales of all tractors through September were up 5 percent compared to 2018. Sales of two-wheel drive 100-plus horsepower tractors were up 3 percent while four-wheel drive tractors were up 9 percent for the first nine months of the year, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.
October 15, 2019
• Production of alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures (dry hay only) is projected to be 54.2 million tons in 2019, according to the USDA’s October Crop Production report. That total is 3 percent above 2018.
• The higher alfalfa production is driven on the strength of a 1.3 percent boost in acres and slightly higher yields in 2019 compared to 2018.
• Alfalfa hay production in California continues to crash. The USDA pegs it at 21.5 percent below 2018 levels. Acreage in the Golden State for 2019 was down 80,000 from the previous year and is at its lowest point since 1936. Based on the October 1 forecast, South Dakota, Idaho, Montana, and Nebraska are now ahead of California in the production of dry alfalfa hay.
• California also faces an earlier than expected loss of chlorpyrifos (Lorsban) as a tool to control alfalfa weevil and other alfalfa insect pests.
• Long time forage researchers Monte Rouquette Jr., Texas A & M University, and Glen Aiken, formerly with USDA at the University of Kentucky and currently a research center director with the University of Florida, have written a new book titled “Management Strategies for Sustainable Cattle Production in Southern Pastures.”
October 8, 2019
• Total U.S. alfalfa exports to all trade partners during August were up 11 percent, according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. The U.S. shipped 233,895 metric tons (MT) during the month.
• For the first month this year, alfalfa hay exports to China were more than they were last year. China imported 84,749 MT of U.S. alfalfa during August; this was its highest total since June 2018.
• In contrast to China, Japan imported its lowest 2019 monthly total of U.S. alfalfa during August, down nearly 11,000 MT from the previous month.
• Be aware of these late-season potential forage toxicities.
• Texas A&M AgriLife Extension offers advice on planting cool-season annuals this fall.
October 1, 2019
• South Dakota State University offers tips on harvesting silage in a wet year.
• Cornell University will be offering an online forage management course from October 25 to December 14. Presentations can be viewed at the participant’s convenience and live Q&A sessions will also be offered.
• Fall is the season for a lot of things on the farm. One of the more important tasks to accomplish before the snow flies is to soil test fields, which is a proven moneymaker by any measure.
• Fall is also the best time of year to control biennial and perennial weeds in hayfields and pastures.
• Kansas State University offers a comprehensive review of small grain forage options for this fall.
• According to a study from Scotland's St. Andrews University that compared the hydration responses of several different drinks, milk was found to be more hydrating than plain water. This was because it contains the sugar lactose, some protein, and some fat, all of which help to slow the emptying of fluid from the stomach and keep hydration happening over a longer period of time.