March 29, 2016

In the most recent Illinois Production Cost Report, the average retail cost of potash fertilizer (0-0-60) in the state was $349 per ton. This puts the cost per pound of K2O just below 30 cents per unit. A few years ago it was more than double this amount.

Krone is moving its North American headquarters from Memphis, Tenn., to Shelbyville, Ind. Construction will begin in early 2017, and the company anticipates it will take about four years for a complete transition of people and facilities to occur.

The Krone announcement comes on the heels of the announcement by Walmart that they are building a new state-of-the-art milk processing facility in Fort Wayne, Ind. It will be one of the largest of its kind in the U.S.

Proposals for the 2016 Alfalfa Seed and Alfalfa Forage Systems Research Program are due no later than 5 p.m. EST, Wednesday, April 13. More information can be found here.

W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago, “Here are the three cardinal principles of dairy farming: good land, good crops and good cows. But at the bottom lies good land and a farmer wise enough to keep it good.”

March 22, 2016

• Small tractor sales continue to be strong in 2016. According to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), sales of two-wheel drive tractors under 40-HP increased by 26.2 percent in February compared to the same month last year. Retail sales for two-wheel drive tractors in the 40- to 100-HP category grew by 5.8 percent in February.

• Larger tractor sales didn’t fare nearly as well, according to the AEM report. Sales of two-wheel drive tractors over 100-HP were down nearly 40 percent in February compared to 2015. In the four-wheel drive tractor category, retail sales were down 43.6 percent for the month.

• Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter in the U.S. totaled 10.8 million head as of March 1, according to the USDA’s Cattle on Feed report released last week. The inventory was 1 percent above one year ago. Marketings of fed cattle during February totaled 1.59 million head, 5 percent above 2015.

• From USDA’s Milk Production report, cows in the 23 leading production states produced 15.8 billion pounds during February, up 4.6 percent from February 2015. Adjusting production for the additional leap year day, February milk production was up 1.0 percent on a per-day basis. The number of milk cows on farms in the U.S. was 9.31 million head, 4,000 head more than February 2015 and 2,000 head more than January 2016.

• W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago, “If the last growth of alfalfa is left standing, the alfalfa winters better. What it does is to shade the crown from the winter sun, help hold the snow better, and thus afford what might be called a winter mulch.”

March 15, 2016

• Alfalfa weevil activity is being reported in states where alfalfa has broken dormancy and is growing. Warmer-than-normal temperatures this spring may be cause for earlier activity than is normal.

In preparation for the first cutting of alfalfa, RFV PEAQ sticks are available from the Midwest Forage Association. Order information is available here.

According to Rocky Lemis, Mississippi State forage specialist, it takes 6 to 8 inches of water for fertilized bermudagrass or bahiagrass to produce a ton of dry matter. This water comes from both rainfall and stored soil reserves.

Netafim USA has recently released a new white paper on subsurface drip irrigation for alfalfa.

W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “You remember the Irishman who said that all whiskey was good but that some whiskey was better than others. It is so with ensilage.”

March 8, 2016

California snowpack expectations for 2016 were tempered by the March 1 report. Though snow levels remain ahead of one year ago, a record dry February brought the statewide average down to 83 percent of normal.

Predictions are for a wet March in northern and central California. Based on recent news reports, it appears to be starting out that way.

The Shields Lab at Cornell University is asking farmers interested in ordering or applying the biocontrol nematodes proven successful for limiting alfalfa snout beetle damage to contact the lab at 607-591-1493 before April 29 if they are planning to apply the nematodes before July 1.

The John E. Baylor Memorial Forage and Livestock Scholarship application deadline is April 1. College students majoring in a forage or livestock-related field are eligible. For more information, click here.

W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “Naturally, we do not expect everybody to agree with us any more than we expect to agree with everybody, but we hope and expect to cause everybody to think.”

March 1, 2016

• NAFA (National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance) representatives attended more than 100 meetings to promote and educate Congressional members and agency officials during their recent D.C. fly-in trip to Washington, D.C. They discussed a number of issues important to the alfalfa/forage industry and continue to build recognition for the nation’s third most valuable field crop.

This year’s Grassfed Exchange Conference will be held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry, Ga., from April 27 to 29. Detailed conference information is available here.

National Forage Week has been designated as June 19 to 25 for 2016.

According to one National Forage Week promotional, U.S. farmers produced 61.4 million tons of alfalfa last year. In small square bales, this would reach from the Earth to the moon and back again 24 times.

W.D. Hoard said it 100 years ago: “If you are determined to let a cow gallop over five acres of land during the summer to get a living, then you need to have very cheap land for her racetrack.”

View February 2016 Hay Pellets