September 27, 2016

· Risk Management Agency closing dates for fall planted crops are fast approaching. The crop insurance coverage deadline for forage production (APH) and forage (alfalfa) seed is September 30 (October 31 in California, Nevada, and Utah).

· Milk production and cow numbers in the 23 major states continued their year-over-year climb during August. According to USDA’s Milk Production report, dairy cow output totaled 16.7 billion pounds, up 1.9 percent from August 2015. The number of milk cows on U.S. farms was pegged at 9.36 million head, 45,000 head more than August 2015, and 16,000 head more than July 2016.

· Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the U.S. for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.1 million on September 1. This was 1 percent above September 1, 2015, according to USDA’s Cattle on Feed report released last Friday. Placements in feedlots during August totaled 1.88 million head, 15 percent above 2015.

· The Chinese government indicated that they would begin accepting U.S. beef from animals less than 30 months of age. The announcement follows a 13-year ban on U.S. beef exports to China.

· W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “Farmers are not saving money by sowing poor seed in anything. When will that idea become dominant in their minds?”

September 20, 2016

· At last week’s National Hay Association Convention in Pasco, Wash., it was announced that Ben Siegrist had been hired as the organization’s new executive director. Siegrist resides in Washington, D.C., and a new NHA organizational office will soon be set up in that area.

· The USDA Crop Production report pegged U.S. corn production at 15.1 billion bushels, up 11 percent from last year but down less than 1 percent from last month’s forecast. Yields are expected to average 174.4 bushels per acre. If realized, this will be the highest yield and production on record for the United States.

· Put another consolidation move in the books. Apparently the sweetened offer from Bayer was enough to woo Monsanto into a “yes.” At least for now, they will continue to operate under their current names.

· But there’s more . . . Canadian fertilizer giants Agrium Inc. and Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. reported that they will merge to create one of the largest crop nutrient companies in the world with an estimated $20.6 billion in annual revenue.

· 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 out and freezing.”

September 13, 2016

· The wheels continue to turn on a Bayer acquisition of Monsanto deal. The German drug company has upped its offer and the two sides continue to negotiate. If consummated, it would follow ChemChina’s acquisition of Syngenta and the merger of Dow Chemical with DuPont.

· Chris Teutsch has been hired to fill the University of Kentucky forage extension position based in Princeton, Ky. Teutsch currently serves as a forage specialist at the Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Virginia Tech. He is expected to begin his new duties in early 2017.

· Early registration discounts for the California Alfalfa & Forage Symposium in Reno, Nev., November 28 to December 1, come to an end on September 15.

· Speaking of deadlines, those who would like to enter samples for the Southeast Hay Contest have until 5 p.m. on Thursday, September 22 to do so.

· W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “The conviction is being forced very rapidly that a dressing of two to five tons to the acre of ground limestone has a splendid effect on alfalfa and clover. Indeed, in many instances, where these plants were unsuccessful to a large degree, such application brought them forward in fine growth.”

September 6, 2016

· USDA estimates net farm income will be $71.5 billion in 2016, down 11.5 percent from 2015. If realized, 2016 net farm income would be the lowest since 2009.

· Sugarcane aphid is now causing problems in areas of California where sorghum silage is being grown.

· The deadline for entering forage samples (other than corn silage) into the World Forage Analysis Superbowl is September 8. Winners will be announced at the 2016 World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis. Entry forms and contest rules are available here.

· Starting January 1, 2017, reduced lignin HarvXtra alfalfa varieties from Forage Genetics International (FGI) may be sold and planted in the eastern states and also in the following states subject to a Seed and Feed Use Agreement: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

· W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “The land needs the cow as much as the cow needs the cornstalks.”