Nov. 3, 2015 08:00 AM

Visits to Idaho and Texas

By Glenn Shewmaker
Extension Forage Specialist
University of Idaho

Meadow voles are wreaking havoc in southern Idaho! Large acreages are set up for a potential 25 to 50 percent stand loss, depending on the weather in the next 60 days. Most mid to low elevation areas in Idaho have yet to get a killing frost but that should end this week. The beautiful October weather has allowed alfalfa to stay green and growing. Some producers took a fifth cutting but it was mostly less than a quarter ton. I normally don't recommend taking a harvest like that, but this year if the hay grower doesn't take a cut, the voles will anyway. Whether plants were harvested mechanically or by voles, I fear that alfalfa has not been able to cold harden and have low carbohydrate reserves.

Hay stocks are adequate with an abundance of feeder hay. USDA forecasts a 5 percent decline in harvested alfalfa acres but a higher yield in 2015.

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

Wet spring followed by a dry summer and fall just ended with rainfall occurring over most of Texas in one weekend (October 23 to 25). In the central part of the state, 4 to 15 inches of rain caused severe flooding in some areas. Wet conditions delayed cotton harvesting and may lead to some wheat fields being replanted. The coastal bend region received from 2 to 8 inches of rain. Producers are hopeful that this rain event will result in one more hay cutting and an emergence of winter pastures.

East Texas received accumulations of more than 11 inches in some areas. The far west region received 1 to 7 inches of rain, which interfered with cotton harvesting and winter wheat planting. The Panhandle had rainfall ranging from 0.5 inch to 7 inches. The sorghum harvest was nearly completed before the rain, with an average yield of about 4,000 pounds per acre. Corn harvests yielded on average about 240 bushels per acre. The south region received widespread rains as a result of Hurricane Patricia. Rainfall promoted the emergence of wheat and oat fields.