March 24, 2020


• Leap year-adjusted U.S. milk production during February was up 1.7% compared to one year ago. The dairy herd was 18,000 head larger than February 2019 and 9,000 head more than the previous month.


• Cattle and calves on feed for the U.S. slaughter market in feedlots with at least 1,000 head capacity totaled 11.8 million head on March 1. That was just slightly above one year ago. Placements in feedlots during February totaled 1.71 million head, 8% below 2019.


• The University of Arkansas will be hosting a free webinar titled “Impacts of COVID-19 on the Cattle Industry” on Thursday, March 26 at 7 p.m. CST. John Jennings, extension forage specialist, will address forage planning and issues. Registration is made available here.


• Here’s a message from Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.


• Ohio State University Extension offers this short video presentation on improving the digestibility of forages by altering particle size.


March 17, 2020


• For those who graze dual-purpose wheat, it’s time to start checking for the first hollow stem. Both Kansas State and Oklahoma State offer updates.


• Here are some more thoughts on the relationship between animal genetics and fescue toxicosis from Ohio State University Extension.


• Last week’s Drought Monitor map indicates that the only area in the U.S. classified in the Extreme Drought category is in portions of southern Texas.


• The Hoyt Report notes that alfalfa production in the Imperial Valley of California is lagging about a month behind previous years. This is the result of unusually wet weather at the end of 2019. Alfalfa acres in the region are down 2% from a year ago.


• Texas A&M University offers some tips for establishing bermudagrass.


March 10, 2020


• U.S. alfalfa hay exports during January totaled 177,977 metric tons (MT), according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. That was down 2% from a year ago and off 4% from the previous month.


• China was far off the pace from their December total of 71,577 MT. In January, they imported 47,836 MT of alfalfa hay. However, that total was still well above the 25,461 MT imported in January 2019.


• Both Japan and South Korea imported near the same amount of U.S. alfalfa hay during January compared to a year ago. Alfalfa exports to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were 16,653 MT, down from the 30,972 MT imported one year ago. Saudi Arabia also imported less U.S. alfalfa during January, totaling 22,107 MT and down from 36,982 MT last year.


• Some top-notch speakers headline these free forage systems webinars being provided by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). There is a total of five webinars, and one is being offered this evening at 7 p.m. CST. Past webinars can also be viewed online.


• A Nebraska extension educator offers these tips when determining the value of hay


March 3, 2020


• Current fertilizer prices from the Illinois Production Cost Report peg urea at $363 per ton or about 40 cents per pound of actual nitrogen. Potash checks in at $364 per ton, or about 30 cents per pound of K2O. Both MAP and DAP are near $400 per ton.


• Nearly 9% of the nation's dairy farms shuttered their doors in 2019, which was the largest annual loss of dairy farms since USDA tracking began in 1992. The herd size dropped by 0.7% last year while overall milk production was 0.4% higher.


• The USDA's latest milk production report showed slightly more than 34,000 licensed dairy farms at the end of 2019, down more than 3,200 from 2018.


• Wisconsin lost the most dairy farms in the nation, down 780 or 9.2%. Other large losses from major dairy states occurred in Ohio (down 11.8%), Michigan (down 12.5%), Missouri (down 13%), and Indiana (down 10.4%). California suffered a 6% loss in farms. Seventeen states lost at least 10% of their licensed herds.


• Regionally, the Southeast had the largest share of farms calling it quits (12.1%). The Midwest closely followed by losing 9.7% of its dairies.