Oct. 6, 2015 08:00 AM

Visits to Idaho, Texas and Michigan

By Glenn Shewmaker
Extension Forage Specialist
University of Idaho

Most of the last cutting of alfalfa hay was harvested without rain. Yields looked good because of moderate temperatures and lack of frost. Late summer alfalfa seedings have done well with warm temperatures and recent light rain in southern Idaho. There are abundant lower quality hay stocks but still light stocks of dairy quality hay.

Corn silage harvest is fast and furious with good maturity and yields. Frost at the higher elevations in the first week of September caused a little packing problem, but no frost at most lower elevations (2,500 to 4,000 feet).

By Vanessa Corriher-Olson
Forage Extension Specialist
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

Most of Texas has had hotter-than-normal fall temperatures and no rain for three months. In the past month, air temperatures have been in the upper 90s and they continue to hold in parts of the state. Many East Texas forage producers are delaying the planting of winter annual forages due to the warm and dry conditions. Many are optimistic about the wetter-than-normal winter that most likely will come because of an exceptionally strong El Niño this year. With this optimism, they are dusting-in small grains with fingers crossed.

Not only are current conditions a concern for planting winter pastures, but so are armyworm populations. Rain events in areas have led to a flush in armyworm populations and many have suffered damage to hay meadows. The Coastal Bend area received some rain, which slightly improved the soil moisture profile. Harvesting of all crops has drawn to a close, with only a little cotton left in the fields. Producers in the Coastal Bend are either preparing to plant or have already planted winter pastures.

Central Texas is beginning to suffer from dry conditions with declining pastures. Producers are delaying planting of small grains until rainfall. In the Panhandle, some areas have received showers, but for the most part rain is still needed throughout the region. Silage producers have been chopping as rapidly as possible, trying to get all fields harvested in a timely fashion.

By Phil Kaatz
Forages & Field Crops Educator
Michigan State University-Extension

Harvest in Michigan is in high gear with producers taking advantage of the best weather we’ve had for the entire growing season. Dairy producers have finished the majority of corn silage harvest, and as you travel south to north, yields have ranged from excellent in the southern half of the state to average yields in the more northern sections. Fields that were planted early and had good summer rainfall responded with excellent results.

The last cutting of alfalfa is in the fields, and many dairy producers have bunk silos already full so they are asking if they should take the last cutting after a killing frost. Most of the haylage harvested has been on time with both good quantity and quality. However, the dry hay producers have large supplies in inventory, and the majority of the hay quality has been average to below average. With large inventories, the economics of supply and demand are putting pressure on prices, except for high-quality dry hay that will be in short supply during the winter months.

Corn and soybean grain yields are trending higher than last year with much higher grain quality. Plants are at or near physiological maturity due to the favorable weather in September with higher than average temperatures and dry conditions.