August 30, 2016

· University of Wisconsin-Extension has developed a smartphone app that helps farmers determine the value of standing corn for silage. The app is built to run on an Android platform and is available from the Google Play website.

· Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the U.S. totaled 10.2 million head on August 1, according to USDA’s Cattle on Feed report. The inventory was 2 percent above August 1, 2015.

· Marketings of fed cattle during July totaled 1.71 million head, 1 percent below 2015. Marketings were the lowest for July since the series began in 1996.

· Milk production during July totaled 16.8 billion pounds, up 1.4 percent from July 2015, according to USDA’s Milk Production report. The July production was 164 million pounds above June.

· W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “When fall comes, be sure that there is a growth of at least 10 inches to a foot high, and let that alfalfa go into the winter with that growth; it will serve as a mulch, prevent the sun from thawing it (the soil) out and freezing.”

August 23, 2016

· In last week’s Illinois Production Cost Report from USDA, the average retail bulk price for potash was down to 24 cents per pound of K2O ($289 per ton). That’s a level not seen in quite a few years.

· There have been several reports of heavy fall armyworm pressure on 2016 pasture and hayfields in the South. Be a diligent scout.

· China continues to dominate the alfalfa hay export market. Data provided by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service indicates June exports to China at 101,591 metric tons (MT). That’s up from their May total of 88,798 MT and is 23,438 MT more than June 2015. Japan was second in June alfalfa hay exports with 38,112 metric tons.

· Registration is now open for the two-day Georgia Grazing School that will be held September
20 to 21.

· W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “Here is a circle; it is complete, almost closed at the top. I find in my practical work on my farm that corn ensilage and alfalfa hay close the circle pretty nearly, and all it lacks is the keystone of a little more grain.”

August 16, 2016

· USDA’s Crop Production report released last week forecasted 2016 hay production of alfalfa and alfalfa-grass mixtures at 61.5 million tons. That’s up slightly from 59.0 million tons in 2015. There’s still speculation that the U.S. acreage number might be adjusted downward. Stay tuned.

· Production of all other hay is also forecasted higher for 2016 at 79.0 million tons. That compares to 75.4 million tons last year.

· Corn production is forecast at 15.2 billion bushels, up 11 percent from last year. The average yield is forecasted at 175.1 bushels per acre, up 6.7 bushels from 2015. If realized, this will be the highest yield and production on record for the United States.

· U.S. hay acres experiencing drought conditions moved up to 18 percent as of August 9. Virtually all regions of the U.S. have some acres under drought.

· W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “The value of any feed depends on how much of it can be dissolved by the stomach of the animal – 'digestible nutrients,' as it is called. If a farmer allows his timothy to go past the blossoming point, without cutting, every additional day’s growth is locking up a goodly percent of the protein, fat, and carbohydrates in such a manner that no animal can unlock them again.”

August 9, 2016

· Cropland value for 2016 in the U.S. dropped by $40 per acre (1 percent) to $4,090 per acre from the previous year, according to USDA’s Agricultural Land Values report released last week. In the Southeast region, the average cropland value rose 4 percent from last year. The largest regional decline occurred in the Northern Plains (Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota) where cropland values declined by 5.4 percent.

· In the same report, pastureland value in 2016 remained constant at $1,330 per acre. The Delta region had the highest bump in value at 3.9 percent from 2015. The Northeast had the greatest decline in value at 2.6 percent. The highest U.S. pasture value belongs to the Southeast region at $3,900 per acre.

· The World Forage Analysis Superbowl contest held in conjunction with World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis., has added an Organic Hay category for 2016. For details on how to enter this and other categories, visit The corn silage entry deadline of August 18 is fast approaching.

· An Alfalfa and Forage Field Day will be held at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier, Calif., on September 14.

· 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.”

August 2, 2016

· With abundant grass growth, more beef producers are holding onto cattle before they go to the feedlot. According to a Purdue University news release, placements weighing 800 pounds and more represented a record 40 percent of all placements during the first half of 2016; this compares to a longer-term average of around 27 percent.

· Speaking of beef, it might be surprising to know that India holds the lead as the world’s number one beef exporter. Water buffalo meat (carabeef) is their main export cuisine. The country took over the top spot from Brazil in 2014.

· If you want to talk all things forages online, check out This relatively new forum offers up a variety of forage topics on which to comment.

· At long last there’s been a bill signed by President Obama that governs the labeling of food containing GMO ingredients. Senate Bill 764 directs the Secretary of Agriculture to “establish a national mandatory bioengineered food disclosure standard.”

· 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.”