December 26, 2017

• U.S. milk production was up 1 percent in November compared to a year ago, according to last week’s USDA Milk Production report; however, the November total was 2.8 percent below the October milk output.

• Milk cow numbers from October held steady in November at nearly 9.4 million head. Compared to one year ago, the U.S. dairy herd is up by 53,000 cows.

• Keep Holstein rations at 5.0 to 5.5 pounds of uNDF-30 (undigestible neutral detergent fiber at 30 hours) and Jerseys at 4.0 to 4.5 pounds, suggests Mike Hutjens, emeritus dairy nutrition specialist with the University of Illinois. Explains Hutjens, “If uNDF is too high, the uNDF can limit dry matter intake due to slower rates of feed passage. If uNDF amounts are too low, abnormal rumen fermentation may occur leading to rumen acidosis, hoof disorders, and lower milkfat levels.”

• Time is running out to get in on the forage fun at the annual American Forage and Grassland Council Conference in Louisville, Ky. The festivities kick off on Sunday, January 14, and run through Tuesday evening.

• Finally, from the gang at Hay & Forage Grower: Hope your Christmas was a joyous one and the coming new year one of prosperity and good health.

December 19, 2017

• The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center now predicts La Niña is 80 percent likely to persist and influence Northern Hemisphere weather through mid- to late-spring.

• The U.S. exported 192,552 metric tons (MT) of alfalfa hay during October, according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. That was down 3.5 percent from September and 7 percent less than October 2016.

• Alfalfa exports through October totaled 2.24 million MT, up 2.01 million metric tons (11.3 percent) from 2016.

• Exports to China in October were 75,033 MT. That was down 5 percent from September and 13 percent lower than a year ago. Still, exports to China are up 10 percent through October compared to 2016, totaling 984,956 MT.

• In addition to China, alfalfa hay exports to Japan, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea are all up through October compared to last year. Exports to Saudi Arabia in 2017 are up 57 percent to 293,204 MT.

December 12, 2017

• Drought conditions continue to worsen in portions of the South. Significant portions of Arkansas are now classified under Extreme Drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor website.

• Nitrogen fertilizer prices have hit a 10-year low, according to University of Illinois Farm Management Specialist Gary Schnitkey.

• South Dakota State Extension livestock specialists are conducting a bale wrap survey to assess current farm practices and guide efforts to develop new bale-wrapping materials.

• S&W Seeds has moved its global corporate offices from Hanford, Calif., to Sacramento, Calif. The move consolidates S&W's executive, sales and marketing, finance, and administration teams.

• Early signs of "fescue foot" were reported by University of Missouri extension forage specialist Craig Roberts.

December 5, 2017

• Results from two more corn hybrid silage performance trials are now available: Minnesota and New York/Vermont.

• The University of Georgia has published a new bulletin on Managing Bermudagrass Stem Maggots.

• The National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance is asking for producer help in prioritizing research needs for the Alfalfa Checkoff program.

• The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) started mailing survey forms for the 2017 Census of Agriculture last week. The census tallies everything from cows to cowpeas and is completed every five years.

• Congratulations to Dan Putnam, University of California extension forage specialist, who received the Jim Kuhn Leadership Award from the California Alfalfa & Forage Association. Putnam received the honor at the Western Alfalfa & Forage Symposium in Reno, Nev., last week.