January 2018 Hay Pellets

By Hay and Forage Grower

January 30, 2018

• Cattle and calves on feed for the U.S. slaughter market (feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more cattle) totaled 11.5 million head on January 1, according to USDA’s Cattle on Feed report. The inventory was 8 percent above one year ago. Placements in feedlots during December totaled 1.8 million head, 1 percent above 2016.

• Milk production in the U.S. during December was up 1.1 percent from one year ago. It was the tenth straight month that year-over-year production was higher. Overall, 2017 milk production was 1.4 percent more than 2016. The year ended with 64,000 more milk cows than one year ago.

• Congratulations to the team from Penn State University who won the Forage Bowl competition at the American Forage & Grassland Conference in Louisville, Ky., earlier this month. The PSU team faced off against Purdue University in the final round. The University of Wisconsin-River Falls and Kansas State University also fielded teams.

• At the same conference, Ted Hughes, a long-time rotational grazier from Comer, Ga., won the Forage Spokesperson Contest. Buron Lanier (North Carolina) and Dave Fischer (Indiana) finished second and third, respectively.

• The Forage & Grassland Foundation is offering scholarships in the amount of $1,000 for students entering their sophomore, junior, or senior year with a major related to the growing and/or feeding of forage to livestock. Applications are due April 1.

January 23, 2018

• Sorghum silage production in the U.S. was down about 10 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year. In total, 3.77 million tons of sorghum silage was produced on 284,000 acres, down from 298,000 acres in 2016.

• Kansas led the nation in the production of sorghum silage during 2017 with 1.1 million tons produced on 85,000 acres. Texas is the second leading sorghum silage state with 65,000 acres and a production total of 975,000 tons.

• The University of California Extension and County Agriculture Commissioners in the wildfire disaster areas are requesting donations for cattle feed and hay to help with evacuated livestock. For more information on how and where to donate, contact the California Farm Service Agency office at 530-792-5520 or email Jacque.Johnson@ca.usda.gov.

• Congratulations to Monte Rouquette Jr., who received the American Forage and Grassland Council’s Medallion Award at their recent conference in Louisville, Ky. Rouquette is a long-time Texas A&M professor and forage research scientist based in Overton.

• Final grain corn production in the U.S. was down about 544 million bushels in 2017 compared to 2016. Average yield was up 2 bushels at 176.6 bushels per acre.

January 16, 2018

• Corn silage acres in the U.S. jumped from 6.19 million in 2016 to 6.43 million in 2017. Average yield dropped from 20.3 to 19.9 tons per acre, but total production raised from 125.7 million tons in 2016 to 128.4 million in 2017.

• Wisconsin led all states in corn silage production at 16.7 million tons in 2017. California was next in line with 9.1 million tons. Arizona grabbed yield honors with an average of 31 tons per acre.

• Total alfalfa exports from January through November 2017 are up about 9 percent from the previous year, according to the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service.

• Alfalfa hay exports to China in November totaled 81,932 metric tons (MT). That was 6,899 MT more than October but 23,367 MT less than November 2016. Overall, 2017 alfalfa hay exports to China remain 7 percent ahead of 2016 through November, but the month marked the fifth in a row when the country’s year-over-year monthly total was less than 2016.

• Alfalfa exports to Saudi Arabia in November totaled 37,079 MT, up 21 percent from October and 29 percent more than last year. January through November, the Saudis imported 330,283 MT of U.S. alfalfa; that’s 53 percent ahead of the 2016 pace.

January 9, 2018

• California’s first measurement of mountain snowpack on January 3 was somewhat disappointing. Statewide, the snow water equivalent (SWE) was 2.6 inches, or 24 percent of the historical average. Last year, the SWE was 84 percent of average on the same date.

• In the most recent Illinois Production Cost Report, the average cost of potash fertilizer was $341.60 per ton, or 28.5 cents per pound.

• The first Ohio Beef Forage Contest is now accepting hay sample entries for a chance to win prizes for the best forages in the East. Beef forage producers from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia can compete for prizes with an entry into any (or all) of the three contest categories: alfalfa hay, grass hay, or mixed hay (alfalfa/grass mix).

• Minnesota’s Tour de Forage meetings are scheduled for three different locations from January 30 to February 1.

• Alabama Cooperative Extension kicks off its Animal Science and Forage Webinar Series on Wednesday, January 10. Leanne Dillard, extension forage specialist, will discuss grazing management and maximizing forage utilization of cool-season forages.

January 2, 2018

• Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter in the U.S. (feedlots with capacity of over 1,000 head) totaled 11.5 million head on December 1. That was 8 percent above one year ago, according to USDA’s Cattle on Feed report.

• Indicative of a growing U.S. beef herd, placements in feedlots during November totaled 2.10 million head, 14 percent above 2016.

• Marketings of fed cattle during November totaled 1.84 million head, 3 percent above 2016. Marketings were the highest for November since USDA began measuring this metric in 1996.

• Though lower potash fertilizer prices have persisted for some time now, that trend may be coming to an end. Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. has announced a temporary cut in production at two of its mines, shutting them down for eight to 10 weeks. Potash Corp. is the world’s largest supplier of potash, and the move is likely an effort to strengthen global prices.

• The National Corn Growers Association’s yield contest was topped in 2017 by David Hula, Charles City, Va. Hula set a new world record by harvesting 542 bushels per acre in the No-till/Strip-till Irrigated Division.