March 26, 2024

• Milk production in the U.S. during February totaled 18.1 billion pounds, according to USDA’s Milk Production report. This was down 1.3% from February 2023 after adjusting for leap day, marking the greatest decline in milk production since January 2022.

• The national dairy herd totaled nearly 9.33 million head, which was up 10,000 head from January’s revised report. This is still 89,000 head less than February 2023, but it was the biggest bump in cow numbers over the past year.

• Cattle and calves on feed for the U.S. slaughter market for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.8 million head on March 1, according to the USDA’s latest Cattle on Feed report. Placements in feedlots during February were up 10% since the previous year at 1.89 million head, and this was the highest February placements have been since the series began in 1996. Marketings of fed cattle were also up 3% at 1.79 million head.

Watch this webinar from Iowa State University for tips on alfalfa stand evaluation and timing first cut.

• Test livestock water sources that may be chemically contaminated after a wildfire.

March 19, 2024

• All hay exports totaled 251,383 metric tons (MT) in January, which was up 20% from the previous year, according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Total hay exports to Japan saw a notable 22% improvement year-over-year with 74,933 MT.

• U.S. alfalfa hay exports hit 170,733 MT in January, which was nearly 20% greater than January 2023. Chinese contracts specifically indicate a strong demand for high-quality, low-price alfalfa hay.

• December 2023 through February 2024 ranked the warmest winter on record in the mainland United States, with February marking the ninth straight month of historic high temperatures around the globe.

• Incorporating perennial peanut into bahiagrass pastures can boost average daily gain and improve annual farm income.

• Plant cover crops where soil moisture is abundant to kickstart spring grazing.

March 12, 2024

• The University of Nebraska Extension provides these answers to frequently asked questions about fire damage to pastures and rangeland.

• Arizona irrigation water restrictions are forcing the Saudi-owned company Fondomonte to vacate one of its large alfalfa growing operations.

• Mitigate mud in pastures for a smoother calving season.

• Unseasonably warm weather prompts scouting for army cutworm in alfalfa.

• Here is a list of some alfalfa weed control options and protocols.

March 5, 2024

• The Smokehouse Creek Fire in Texas has become the largest wildfire in the state’s history. Dry and windy conditions caused the flames to burn more than 1 million acres across the flat grasslands of the Texas Panhandle last week.

• Keeping soil covered will become more critical as extreme weather events exacerbate soil erosion.

• The agricultural sector accounted for 10.6% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States in 2021.

• There could be room for more roughage in finishing cattle diets.

• Don’t jump the gun on your grazing start date.