July 26, 2022

• Year-over-year milk production for June increased by 0.17%. This was the first time milk output rose since November 2021, according to USDA’s Milk Production report. All of the higher production is attributed to elevated production per cow as the number of cows remains below year-ago levels. However, cow numbers were up slightly from the previous month.

• Milk prices have come down somewhat from earlier record highs but remain at historically strong levels. Currently, Class III prices are expected to remain above $20 per hundredweight through the end of 2022.

• Cattle and calves on feed for the U.S. slaughter market for feedlots with capacity of at least 1,000 totaled 11.3 million head on July 1, which was slightly above a year ago. Placements into feedlots during June were down by 2% from the previous year.

• Beef herd contraction from two years of drought is in full swing. The number of beef cows in the U.S. on July 1 totaled just under 30.4 million head, according to USDA’s Cattle report. That number was 2% below the previous year. Beef heifer replacements over 500 pounds were down by 3%, totaling just under 4.2 million head.

• The July beef cow inventory has declined by 6.3%, or just over 2 million head, since the most recent peak in July 2018.

July 19, 2022

• South Dakota State University has named Sara Bauder to the position of state extension forage specialist. Bauder previously served as an agronomy field specialist in the state.

• Healthy soils are needed for ensuring high-quality, high-yielding alfalfa stands, not to mention long-term crop production.

• The Indiana Forage Council is sponsoring the 2022 Hoosier Hay Contest. Details can be found at indianaforage.org.

• Novel endophyte tall fescue doesn’t have to be babied.

• Entries for the Southeastern Hay Contest must be submitted by September 1. Rules and entry forms can be found here.

July 12, 2022

• Total alfalfa hay exports during May totaled 240,606 metric tons (MT), which was about 5% below a year ago. Year-to-date world alfalfa hay exports remained marginally ahead of last year through May, according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

• China purchased 120,795 MT of U.S. alfalfa hay during May, which was about 10,000 MT fewer than last year but above the previous two months. Its year-to-date total remains 5% ahead of 2021.

• Baling ditch hay brings added layers of danger for the machine operator.

• Alfalfa weevil insecticide resistance is spreading across California.

• Tips for summer grazing come from Pennsylvania and Florida. Many of them are basically the same in spite of the different environments.

July 5, 2022

• Harvested hay acre projections by USDA were increased in their June Acreage report. Total harvested hay acres are now forecasted at 51.5 million, which is 1.5% higher than 2021 and 2.3% more than the initial March estimate.

• The acres of alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures were pegged at nearly 15.5 million, which is 1.4% more than 2021. Nonalfalfa (mostly grass) hay acres are projected at a little over 36 million, 1.5% higher than last year.

• If USDA’s projections come to fruition, it’s really the first news we’ve had in quite some time that would have any tempering impact on hay prices.

• The USDA Acreage report pegged corn acres to be down 4% in 2022 compared to last year. Planted corn acres are projected at 89.9 million and were down or unchanged in 35 of the 48 reporting states.

• There are a lot of advantages to grazing cover crop annual forages on land being used for commodity grains.