August 29, 2017

• The number of cattle in feedlots as of August 1 was 4 percent higher than one year ago, according to USDA’s Cattle on Feed report released last week. Feedlots with more than 1,000 head had 10.6 million cattle on feed.

• Cattle placements in feedlots during July totaled 1.62 million head, up 3 percent from 2016 while marketings of fed cattle during the same month totaled 1.78 million head, 4 percent above last year.

• Private estimates of the U.S. corn crop are coming in very close to USDA’s forecast. Bottom line: There’s a lot of corn out there if Mother Nature cooperates the rest of the way to maturity.

• Rains have finally started to fall in larger areas of the drought-stricken Northern Plains, but conditions remain historically dry overall.

• University of Florida extension beef cattle specialist, Matt Hersom, reminds cattle producers that bargain hay is no bargain if it’s poor quality.

August 22, 2017

• Milk production in the U.S. during July totaled 18.2 billion pounds, up 1.8 percent from a year ago and 1 percent higher than the previous month. The number of milk cows in the U.S. is 9.4 million head, up 74,000 from one year ago but down slightly from the previous month.

• Pasture conditions in the Dakotas and Montana are still dismal with 60 to 70 percent of the acreage rated as Poor to Very Poor.

• Krone North America has put on hold plans to relocate their corporate headquarters to Shelbyville, Ind., which was originally set to break ground this past spring. A company spokesman said they are reevaluating their original plans, but for now they will continue to invest in people and products.

• According to USDA’s Farm Computer Usage and Ownership report released last week, 73 percent of U.S. farms now have computer access. Of those farmers having computer access, 72 percent own or lease a computer. Twenty-three percent of U.S. farmers indicated that they purchased farm inputs on the internet.

• Hay crop forage samples (dry hay and haylage) for the World Forage Analysis Superbowl must be submitted by September 7. The long-standing forage quality contest is held in conjunction with World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis., which will be held October 3 to 7, 2017.

August 15, 2017

• Total U.S. alfalfa exports for June were 237,280 metric tons (MT), according to data from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. This was down 31,344 MT from May but 36,364 MT more than June 2016. In recent years, it’s been typical for hay exports to drop from May to June. Looking at year-to-date totals, U.S. alfalfa exports are still 29 percent more than 2016.

• Alfalfa exports to China were down 6.4 percent in June compared to May; however, the 109,210 MT June total was still 7,447 MT more than one year ago. Of the top five U.S. alfalfa export partners, only Saudi Arabia imported more U.S. alfalfa in June than in May.

• Production of dry alfalfa hay in 2017 is forecasted (as of August 1) to be 56.2 million tons, down 3.6 percent from 2016. USDA’s August Crop Production report also projects the average yield per acre to be 3.28 tons, which compares to 3.45 tons in 2016.

• States with the largest forecasted reductions for dry alfalfa hay production are North Dakota (down 21 percent), Minnesota (down 21 percent), Texas (down 20 percent), Washington (down 17 percent), and Kentucky (down 17 percent).

• For hay other than alfalfa, production is projected to be similar to 2016 at 76.4 million tons. Both acres (36.4 million) and average total-season yields (2.1 tons per acre) are similar as well.

August 8, 2017

Nine researchers were the initial recipients of funds generated from the National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance's (NAFA) U.S. Alfalfa Farmer Research Initiative (alfalfa checkoff). The research projects were selected from a submitted group of 34 proposals and can be viewed in detail at the NAFA website.

Pasture values in the U.S. rose a modest 1.5 percent from $1,330 to $1,350 per acre, according to USDA’s Agricultural Land Values report.

The Southeast region tallied the highest average pastureland value at $3,910 per acre; this figure was strengthened by Florida’s $5,100 per acre. The lowest values were in the Mountain region, which came in at $625 per acre.

U.S. cropland values remained unchanged from 2016 at $4,090 per acre. The highest values were reported in the Corn Belt at $6,670 per acre, while the Mountain region states had the lowest average value at $1,780.

Oxbow International Corporation won its patent infringement case against H&S Manufacturing Company. The case centered on patents used on Oxbo’s triple head windrow merger.

Michigan State’s Ag Innovation Day will focus on forages.

August 1, 2017

In USDA’s recent cattle inventory report, the number of calves totaled 36.3 million head. That’s a jump of 3.5 percent from last year and signals larger slaughter cattle supplies in 2018 and 2019.

A lot of good forward-planning forage information will be offered at the Winter Grazing Program in Overton, Texas, on August 24.

With many Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres being released for harvest in the Northern Plains, the University of Nebraska’s Bruce Anderson recommends that forage testing needs to come into play.

Last week, Kansas joined the list of states reporting sugarcane aphid damage in 2017. To view a national infestation map, click here.

Registration is now open for the Western Alfalfa & Forage Symposium that will be held November 28 to 30 in Reno, Nev.