November 28, 2023

• Milk production in the U.S. totaled 18.7 billion pounds in October, falling just 0.5% below a year ago. Milk production per cow was 1 pound less than last year. The national dairy herd was about 9.37 million head in October, which was roughly 6,000 fewer cows than September and 42,000 fewer than October 2022.

• Of the five top producing states, California, Texas, and Idaho saw respective declines in milk production of 2.6%, 1.9%, and 1.4% year-over-year. On the other hand, milk production was up 0.9% in Wisconsin and 2.1% in New York.

• Florida had the greatest leap in milk production, up 6.2% year-over-year at 155 million pounds. New Mexico had the most dramatic drop in milk production since October 2022, falling by 9%.

• According to the USDA’s Farm Labor report released last week, operators paid their hired workers an average gross wage of $18.81 per hour during the October 2023 reference week. This is up 6% from the October 2022 reference week.

• Field workers earned an average of $18.24 per hour, which is up 7% from last year. Livestock workers received an average of $17.19 per hour, up 4%. Hired employees worked an average of 41.7 hours during the October 2023 reference week, which is down slightly from October 2022. Find wages for specific regions here.

November 21, 2023

• Cattle and calves on feed for the U.S. slaughter market totaled 11.9 million head as of November 1. The inventory was roughly 2% higher than a year ago. Placements in feedlots during October totaled 2.6 million head, which was up 4% from October 2022. Marketings of fed cattle during October totaled 1.76 million head, which was 3% less than last year.

• Shelby Gruss is the new state forage specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. In addition to delivering forage-related programs and content to producers, she has teaching and research appointments on campus.

• Registration for the Equines and Endophyte Workshop in Lexington, Ky., is now open.

• Grazing or baling cornstalks could provide low-cost winter feed.

• Here are a few reminders about fall forage management.

November 14, 2023

• Exports of U.S. alfalfa hay in September totaled 218,532 metric tons (MT), which was up 9% from August, according to the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Year-over-year alfalfa hay exports were nearly 14% behind September 2022. For January through September, total alfalfa exports remain 29% behind last year.

• China imported 84,559 MT of U.S. alfalfa hay in September, which was almost 50% less than September 2022. Total U.S. alfalfa hay exports to China through the first three-quarters of 2023 were 54% lower than last year.

• Saudi Arabia remains the second-largest export market for U.S. alfalfa hay. It imported 37,899 MT in September, which was 3% less than 2022, but the country has imported 87% more alfalfa year to date. Exports to Japan jumped 32% this month with 31,054 MT, yet total exports to Japan remained significantly lower than last year.

• An updated edition of the pocket-sized Purdue Forage Field Guide is now available.

• The Northern Plains Forage Association will hold its annual meeting following an afternoon of education seminars in Brandon, S.D., on December 1.

November 7, 2023

• Recordings of the Dairy Forage Seminars presented at World Dairy Expo last month are available here.

• There are pros and cons to leaving tall alfalfa in a hayfield over winter.

• Getting rid of johnsongrass takes an integrated approach.

• Test forage to make the most of winter hay feeding.

• Think twice before investing in soil additives.