According to the USDA-NASS Cattle report released last Friday, U.S. cattle and calves placed on feed for slaughter (feedlots over 1,000 head) totaled 10.71 million on February 1. This was essentially the same number reported for February 1 of last year.

Also last Friday, USDA released their Milk Production report. Overall, U.S. January production was up by 0.3 percent to 16.4 billion pounds compared to January 2015. The report included this tidbit: The average annual rate of milk production per cow has increased 12.6 percent from 2006.

Wisconsin had the highest number of licensed dairy herds in 2015 at 9,900. Coming in second was Pennsylvania at 6,770.

USDA estimates the number of farms in the U.S. for 2015 at 2.07 million, down 18,000 farms from 2014. Virtually the entire decline in farm numbers was accounted for by operations with less than $10,000 in agricultural product sales. Total land in farms, at 912 million acres, decreased 1 million acres from 2014.

W.D. Hoard said it 100 years ago: “If the farmers of the United States were as wise on the question of maintaining (soil) fertility as they are in the adoption of machinery, what a country this would be.”

February 16:

Mark your calendar for the 2016 Southeast Hay Convention that is scheduled for March 8 and 9 at the Sunbelt Ag Expo grounds in Moultrie, Ga. Details on the event can be found here.

Montana-based Northern Seed has purchased Syngenta's triticale breeding program and associated facility in Vernon, Texas. The company’s website says research trials will focus on increasing the nutrition and yields of (triticale) forages from New York through California.

In reference to the above, triticale is a cross between wheat and rye. The name — triticale — is also derived by combining portions of the scientific names from wheat (Triticum) and rye (Secale).

The Alliance for Grassland Renewal will offer four one-day workshops in Missouri (3) and Oklahoma (1) focusing on replacing toxic endophyte-infected tall fescue with novel endophyte varieties. Details and locations for the late-March workshops can be found here.

W.D. Hoard said it 100 years ago: “There is no known combination of forage that can equal alfalfa hay and corn silage. There is a harmony of working between these two feeds that is surprising.”

February 9:

• A revised edition of the Alfalfa Management Guide is now available for purchase from the American Society of Agronomy or the University of Wisconsin-Extension. The practical guide covers all aspects of alfalfa management and is authored by forage specialists from throughout the U.S.

• It was mostly more good news in the California snowpack department; however, a high-pressure ridge is bringing warmer temperatures and drier weather to the region this week.

• The Midwest Forage Association has funds to support forage research in member states and is currently soliciting proposal requests for 2016. Contact the MFA office at 651-484-3888 or

World Ag Expo kicks-off today in Tulare, Calif., and runs through Thursday. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by the Hoard's Dairyman and Hay & Forage Grower booth at the west end of the Farm Credit Dairy Center.

• Though not widely grown until some years later, it’s thought that both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew a few acres of alfalfa.

February 2:

In last Friday's USDA Cattle report, there were 92 million head of cattle and calves on U.S. farms as of January 1. This was an increase of 3 percent from a year ago and is the highest cattle inventory since 2011. The 30.3 million beef cow tally was up 4 percent from January 2015. View the complete report here.

• According to NOAA, El Niño is expected to weaken through winter and early spring. In fact, ocean temperatures have already begun to decline. There is no guarantee that a La Niña condition will follow but expect to hear a lot of chatter regarding that transition.

• The Ohio Forage and Grassland Council will hold their annual conference on February 19 in Reynoldsburg. Check out the details here in the Ohio Beef Cattle Letter

• A new edition of the Forage Crop Pocket Guide is now available from the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI). The guide was developed by forage specialists Donald Ball, Carl Hoveland and Gary Lacefield. For more information on how to obtain a copy, visit here.

• A Super Bowl pellet: Denver has chosen to wear their white jerseys for the Super Bowl. They are zero for four in Super Bowls when they've worn their signature orange. Teams wearing white in the Super Bowl are 31-18 overall.

View January 2016 Hay Pellets