August 27, 2019

• Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market (feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head) totaled 11.1 million head on August 1, according to USDA’s Cattle on Feed report. This number was slightly above one year ago and is the highest August 1 inventory since the series began in 1996. Placements in feedlots during July totaled 1.71 million head, 2 percent below 2018. Marketings of fed cattle during July totaled 2 million head, 7 percent above 2018.

• Milk production in the U.S. during July totaled 18.3 billion pounds, essentially the same as one year ago, according to USDA’s Milk Production report. The nation’s dairy herd is down 60,000 cows from July 2018.

• Seventy-five percent of farms reported having access to the internet based on USDA’s annual Farm Computer Usage and Ownership report. Seventy-three percent of farms now have access to a desktop or laptop computer. Over half of the farms in the U.S. used a smartphone or tablet to conduct farm business, compared to 44 percent in 2017.

• Cornell University specialists report that wet corn silage can be an environmental challenge and offer tips to minimize the damage.

• Cash rent values for all cropland in the U.S. were up only $2 per acre from last year, according to USDA. The average cash rent paid in 2019 was $140 per acre. For irrigated acres, the average cash rent value stands at $220 per acre, up $5 from 2018.

August 20, 2019

• During the first half of 2019, total alfalfa hay exports to all trade partners were down only slightly at 0.4 percent lower, according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Total alfalfa hay exports for the first half of 2019 were 1,247,266 metric tons (MT).

• Here’s a quick look at the numbers from the United States’ five leading alfalfa hay trade partners from January through June 2019 and how their trade volumes compare to 2018:

• Although the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is well ahead of their 2018 pace, its totals for the past May and June dropped off considerably. In June, they imported 15,182 MT of U.S. alfalfa, which compared to their March high of 42,873 MT.

• The USDA forecasted 2019 alfalfa hay production at 55.4 million tons in their August Crop Production report. That’s up 5 percent over 2018. California is expected to be down 6 percent due to a significant drop in acres while Idaho is estimated to be down 7 percent. Montana production is expected to rise by 18 percent in 2019 and South Dakota is pegged at 29 percent higher.

• The production of hay other than alfalfa is forecasted to be up 7 percent despite a small decline in acreage. Total U.S. production is projected at 75.7 million acres.

August 13, 2019

• The value of U.S. farm real estate, which includes both land and buildings on farms, averaged $3,160 per acre for 2019, according to USDA’s Land Value report released last week. The value of farm real estate was up $60 per acre (1.9 percent) from 2018. Cropland value in the U.S. averaged $4,100 per acre, a jump of $50 per acre (1.2 percent) from the previous year.

• Pasture values in the U.S. averaged $1,400 per acre, up $30 (2.2 percent) from 2018. The highest pasture value was found in the Southeast at $4,180 per acre. This was driven largely by Florida pastureland, which checked in at $5,360 per acre. Northeast states fell next in line, averaging $3,870 per acre. View a complete listing of pasture and cropland values by state here.

• Ever wonder about the nutrient value of wheat straw? Go here and stop wondering.

• A total of 56 million U.S. acres were reported as being drained by tile in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. That figure is a 14-percent jump from the 49 million acres that were reported as being tile drained in the 2012 census. Iowa leads the nation with 53 percent of its cropland being tile drained.

• The University of Kentucky will hold its Fall Grazing School on September 10 and 11 in Versailles. The full two-day program is filled with a variety of grazing topics, tours, and hands-on activities.

August 6, 2019

• The current U.S. Drought Monitor shows only 3.5 percent of the continental U.S. under some level of drought. This compares to 34 percent from one year ago. No area is currently in an extreme or exceptional drought.

New research from Texas A&M is focused on controlling bermudagrass stem maggot.

• Stockpiling fescue and orchardgrass can be extremely profitable when hay values are high.

• The most recent Illinois Production Cost Report pegs the average price for fertilizer urea at $433 per ton, or about 47 cents per pound of actual nitrogen. Potash checks in at $393 per ton, or 33 cents per pound of actual potassium (K).

• The European Union (EU) has agreed to purchase more beef from the U.S. The step up period will be over seven years and exports to the EU must not be treated with growth hormones.