May 31, 2016

Approximately 7 percent of U.S. hay acreage is within an area experiencing drought, according to USDA. This is down from 9 percent just a few weeks ago.

Monsanto said “no deal” on the $62 billion bid put forth by Bayer AG. Reports indicate that Monsanto is looking for a higher offer.

The average farm worker earned $12.75 per hour during April, according to USDA’s Farm Labor report. That's a 4 percent increase compared to the same week last year.

National Forage Week is coming fast: June 19 to 25, 2016.

W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: If you are in a section of the country where the bacterial condition of the soil is not favorable to alfalfa, get from some old alfalfa grower about 300 to 400 pounds of soil and scatter it over the land when you sow your alfalfa in the spring.”

May 24, 2016

Milk production in the U.S. for April was up 1.2 percent compared to April 2015, according to USDA’s Milk Production report. Though California was down 3.3 percent, other Midwest and eastern states were up significantly from the previous year. Included in this group were Michigan (up 6.5 percent), Minnesota (2.7 percent), New York (5.3 percent), South Dakota (10.5 percent), and Wisconsin (4.6 percent).

The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.33 million head, 15,000 head more than April 2015.

USDA's May Cattle on Feed report indicated there were 1.3 percent more cattle on feed than a year ago. April placements were up 7.5 percent, which surprised many analysts. April marketings were up 1.2 percent.

Some funky alfalfa growth is making harvest timing a bit more difficult in New York.

W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “There is one advantage in alfalfa in this respect. It remains longer in growth than clover and the cutting of three crops a year is death on weeds.”

May 17, 2016

Kubota Corporation struck a deal to purchase Great Plains Manufacturing. Brand names will continue as they have been in the past.

Forage specialists in California report that they have documented alfalfa weevil populations with resistance to pyrethroid insecticides in the Intermountain Region of the state. Read more here.

Cornell University has developed a new web-based app that helps time first-cut harvest by estimating the NDF (neutral detergent fiber) content of alfalfa-grass mixtures. The app works on a computer or smartphone.

According to USDA, 75 percent of the U.S. corn crop is planted. This compares to 82 percent at the same time last year and is 5 percentage units ahead of the past five-year average.

W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “As farmers, we must constantly keep in mind that there is no animal on the farm that possesses the power to transform coarse forage and grain into the highest order of human food like the cow. But the lesson for us to consider is how we can best aid this wonderful animal in her transforming power.”

May 10, 2016

Among the family of silage storage decision-making spreadsheets, the Silage Pile Sizing Calculator has been recently updated and is available on the University of Wisconsin Team Forage website.

According to the Hoyt Report, most hay dealers in the West are doing significantly less business than normal as many dairies are buying little or no hay at this time.

Though beef production was up over 6 percent in April, cattle are being pulled to market sooner and at lighter weights than one year ago. This latter fact may be cause for future cattle market strength, according to David Anderson, Texas A&M AgriLife extension economist.

An Alfalfa and Small Grains Field Day will be held Wednesday, May 11 at the University of California Plant Sciences Research Farm in Davis. There is no charge to attend. Details are available here.

W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “The silo is the best method of preserving one of the best and cheapest milk foods there is. The farmer who can grow corn successfully, whether for beef or milk, should not fail to have one. Then, if he can grow red clover or alfalfa well, he is doubly blessed.”

May 3, 2016

The USDA currently estimates that only 9 percent of U.S. hay acres are in a region that is experiencing drought. A map is available here.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the livestock industry accounts for only 4.2 percent of the U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

According to the European publication, Farmers Weekly, three college Ph.D. students in London are in the process of developing a biopolymer edible bale wrap. The product currently has a pending patent and will be field tested over the next two years. The expectation is to have it on the market in three to five years.

Iowa State University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Lallemand Animal Nutrition are cooperating to offer the “Silage for Beef Cattle Conference” in Mead, Neb., on June 17. Those with an interest in attending can register for the free event here.

W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “Cows not only vary in the amount of milk and its fat content but also in the quantity and value of the feed consumed to produce milk. While it is true that small yields are seldom profitable, it is also true that the largest yields do not always return the most profit.”