Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) must now be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration's Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) registry. The new federal law became effective on December 21, 2015.

• Every one pound of actual alfalfa seed planted per acre equates to about five seeds planted per square foot.

New Zealand's dairy herd declined by 300,000 cows over the past year. This is the first time in 10 years that the country has seen a reduction in cow numbers.

Tall fescue was introduced to the U.S. in the 1800s but was not widely planted until the 1940s and 1950s.

Hunters in Caldwell County, Texas, have harvested 8,300 feral hogs in the past two years. A local task force pays a bounty of $5 per tail.

December 22, 2015:

• Dow AgroSciences seems confident that the Environmental Protection Agency will see fit to reregister sulfoxaflor-containing insecticides once the pollinator data is completed and reviewed. Transform, which was one of two products available for controlling sugarcane aphids in sorghum species, was pulled from the market in September following a judge's ruling in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Researchers at the University of California-Davis are attempting to identify genetic markers in alfalfa that influence yield. If their models are successful, future high-yielding varieties could more quickly be identified as early as the seedling stage.

Milk production in the U.S. during November totaled 16.6 billion pounds, up 0.6 percent from November 2014. The largest percent increases came from South Dakota (+13.1), Michigan (+6.4), Wisconsin (+4.3) and Indiana (+4.1). The biggest percent declines came from California (-4.4) and New Mexico (-3.3).

• The beef extension team in Alabama will offer a "Beef Basics" online course that is free and begins in January. Click here for more information.

• Registration is open for the Midwest Forage Association's 2016 Symposium that will be held January 26 to 27 in Wisconsin Dells.

December 15, 2015:

• The National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance (NAFA) publishes the “Alfalfa Variety Ratings” bulletin each year. The 2016 version was included in the November issue of Hay & Forage Grower but can also be downloaded here. NAFA makes available a searchable database here.

Looking for some corn silage performance data? Several universities evaluate hybrids for both yield and quality. These include Wisconsin, Penn State, Minnesota and Maine.

Four-wheel drive tractor sales were down 43.9 percent in November and 42.3 percent for the year, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers' November Flash Report. Smaller 2-wheel drive (2WD) farm tractors faired better. Sales of 2WD tractors under 40 horsepower were up 1.7 percent for November and 7.7 percent for the year to date.

It should be interesting to see what impact the DuPont-Dow merger will have on the respective seed divisions. The merger now puts DuPont Pioneer under the same corporate umbrella as Alforex and Mycogen, to name a couple.

The Virginia Forage and Grassland Conference will hold a series of meetings in January titled "Tall Fescue in the 21st Century: Understanding and Managing Tall Fescue in Grazing Systems." Click here for more information.

December 8, 2015:
Kudos to Mark McCaslin, president of Forage Genetics International, for receiving the Jim Kuhn Leadership Award from the California Alfalfa & Forage Association. Among many other accomplishments, McCaslin was instrumental in developing and bringing to market transgenic glyphosate resistance and reduced lignin traits for alfalfa. The award was presented at the 2015 Western Alfalfa & Forage Symposium in Reno, Nev., last week.

Time is running short to get registered for the American Forage and Grassland Council's 2016 Annual Conference that will be held January 10 to 13 in Baton Rouge, La. Registration information can be found here.

Word on the street is that an updated Alfalfa Management Guide will be available after January 1 from the American Society of Agronomy. Prepress bulk orders are currently being taken.

• Seth Hoyt reported at the Western Alfalfa & Forage Symposium that some Washington state hay exporters are setting up operations in Long Beach, Calif., because shipping cost to China is considerably cheaper than out of their home Washington ports.

During November, the current El Niño set all-time records for an average weekly ocean surface temperature and overall monthly average temperature.

December 1, 2015:

• Congratulations to Robert Kallenbach,
forage extension agronomist at the University of Missouri, for recently receiving the Agronomic Extension Education Award and the Crop Science Extension Education Award from the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America, respectively.

• The Western Alfalfa & Forage Symposium is set to kickoff next Wednesday, December 2, in Reno, Nev.

Back in the day, both the turkey and American bald eagle were each considered as the national symbol of America. Benjamin Franklin favored the turkey. He felt the turkey was "a more respectable bird," albeit "vain and silly." Franklin faulted the American bald eagle as being a bird of "bad moral character that doesn't get its food honestly."

• October milk production in California was down 5.5 percent compared to one year ago. This was easily the largest decline of any state. Overall U.S. production rose by 0.1 percent.

A forage analysis competition will be held at the third annual Pennsylvania Dairy Summit, which will take place February 10 and 11. Forage samples need to be submitted by the end of December. Go here for more details.

• Krone North America introduced a new BiG X line of self-propelled forage harvesters last week in Florida. The new harvesters range from 489 to 617 horsepower and are positioned for medium-sized dairy and beef operations.