March 29, 2022

• Milk production in the U.S. dropped 1% in February compared to a year earlier, according to USDA’s Milk Production report. This was the fourth consecutive month that production dropped compared to the same month in the previous year. Bucking the national trend, Texas and Wisconsin boosted production in February, with volumes up by 4.3% and 0.7%, respectively.

• The nation’s dairy herd grew a modest 3,000 head in February compared to the previous month. This stopped a streak of eight consecutive months where cow numbers declined. The outlook for milk prices in 2022 remains positive.

• Cattle and calves on feed for the U.S. slaughter market (feedlots over 1,000 head capacity) totaled 12.2 million head on March 1, according to USDA’s Cattle on Feed report. The inventory was 1% above a year ago and was the highest March 1 inventory since tracking began in 1996. Placements in feedlots during February totaled 1.85 million head, 9% above 2021.

• Do high nitrogen fertilizer prices warrant a switch to polymer-coated urea? Read on.

• In a recent Cow-Calf Corner newsletter, Paul Beck discusses the control and prevention of wheat pasture bloat.

March 22, 2022

• Penn State University offers this comprehensive list of alternative forages for spring and summer planting.

• The benefits of legume-grass mixtures are numerous.

• There are some do’s and don’ts for cover cropping.

• As of mid-March, approximately 65% of U.S. alfalfa acres were in some level of drought.

• James Rogers has joined North Dakota State University’s North Central Research Extension Center near Minot as a forage crops production specialist. Rogers was previously with the Noble Research Institute.

March 15, 2022

• Over 200,000 metric tons (MT) of U.S. alfalfa hay were exported during January, which set a record for January exports of the crop.

• More than half (109,783 MT) of January’s alfalfa hay exports went to China. Japan received 48,411 MT of U.S. alfalfa during the month.

• If drought persistence continues, there will need to be some tough cattle decisions.

• Ensure your formulated dairy ration is what reaches the feedbunk.

• The University of Kentucky offers some tips to avoid equine fescue toxicosis.

March 8, 2022

• March offers the optimum time to frost seed pastures in Northern states.

• There are benefits for providing grass in a dairy ration. View this presentation by Cornell University’s Debbie Cherney for the reasons why.

• The University of Florida offers these tips for selecting and feeding hay to horses during the winter and early spring.

• Plan now for improving winter-damaged pastures.

• More ranchers are considering multi-species grazing.

March 1, 2022

• Milk production in the U.S. during January totaled just over 19 billion pounds, down 1.6% from the previous year. This marked the third consecutive month of year-over-year production decline, according to USDA’s Milk Production report. The nation’s dairy herd had 82,000 fewer cows in January than it did a year earlier.

• Average U.S. milk per cow set a new record of 23,948 pounds in 2021. That level of production would have led the individual state rankings as recently as 2008.

• Cattle and calves on feed for the U.S. slaughter market for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 12.2 million head on February 1. The inventory was 1% above the previous year. This is the highest February 1 inventory since tracking began in 1996. Marketings of fed cattle during January totaled 1.77 million head, 3% below January 2021.

• A new insecticide active ingredient is proving effective for alfalfa weevil control in California.

• Here are some useful thoughts from Oregon State University on managing hay production and use during a drought.