August 28, 2018

• July milk production in the U.S. was only 0.4 percent higher than a year ago, according to USDA. This may actually be a sign that production is starting to moderate. Milk cow numbers were 8,000 less than July 2017 and have dropped by 12,000 since the beginning of the year.

• Notable year-over-year milk production changes in selected states included California (down 2.5 percent), Colorado (up 8.9 percent), Michigan (down 0.9 percent), Minnesota (down 0.2 percent), New York (up 0.6 percent), Pennsylvania (down 0.7 percent), Texas (up 7.3 percent), and Wisconsin (up 1.2 percent).

• Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the U.S. totaled 11.1 million head on August 1. The inventory was 5 percent above one year ago and is the highest August 1 inventory since USDA started tracking such data in 1996. Placements in feedlots during July totaled 1.74 million head, 8 percent above 2017.

• Word on the street is that the demand for export hay has dropped considerably with the current tariffs being imposed by China for alfalfa hay. This could have a significant impact on alfalfa hay prices in the West if this situation persists over the long term.

• Auburn University, along with the University of Georgia and the University of Florida, will host a free “Alfalfa in Bermudagrass” webinar on Thursday, September 27 beginning at 11 a.m. EDT. For more information, click here.

August 21, 2018

• Sales of farm tractors during July were significantly up, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. Two-wheel drive tractors, over 100 horsepower, were up nearly 31 percent from 2017, while sales of all four-wheel drive tractors were 77.5 percent higher.

• Year-to-date sales of farm tractors are also improved over 2017. Overall, total farm tractor sales are up 7.4 percent. That number is led by a 12.7 percent boost in four-wheel drive tractor sales.

• Much to the dismay of farmers, ranchers, and organizations such as the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a federal judge ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers improperly suspended the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, allowing it to take effect in 26 states where it has not been blocked by other courts.

• It’s time again to get those hay and baleage samples ready for entry into the Southeastern Hay Contest. The deadline for entry is 5 p.m. on Thursday, September 20. Winners will be announced on the first day of the Sunbelt Ag Expo.

• These words of warning about managing carbohydrate intake in grazed horse pastures come from extension specialists at the University of Florida.

August 14, 2018

• Alfalfa hay production in 2018 is forecasted to be up 5 percent from last year, according to USDA’s August Crop Production report released last week. The projection is based on early acreage estimates and will likely change once end-of-year numbers are tabulated.

• Alfalfa hay exports in June were actually up over the previous month, but that may be the calm before the storm as Chinese tariffs didn’t take effect until July 6. China imported 88,110 metric tons (MT) of U.S. alfalfa during June, which was up slightly from May but down 20 percent from the previous year.

• The big export surprise in June was Saudi Arabia. They imported 57,296 MT of alfalfa. That was 45 percent above their May total and 75 percent more than one year ago. It was also above Japan’s June total of 49,080 MT, making Saudi Arabia the second largest importer of U.S. alfalfa during June.

• Forage growers are encouraged to submit samples for the 2018 World Forage Analysis Superbowl before the final entry deadline of Thursday, August 30. Contest categories with this deadline include baleage, commercial hay, dairy hay, grass hay, and haylage. A total of $22,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to high-placing participants during World Dairy Expo.

• Tillerman Seeds LLC, a holding company based in Greenville, Mich., announced it has acquired the assets and real estate of Legacy Seeds Inc., a Scandinavia, Wis.-based producer of alfalfa, corn, wheat, and soybean seeds, as well as cover crops. Legacy Seeds, which has their own alfalfa breeding program, will continue to operate as a stand-alone entity and current employees will keep their jobs.

August 7, 2018

• The 2018 average value of cropland in the U.S. rose 1 percent from last year to $4,130 per acre, according to USDA’s Agricultural Land Values report released last week. The largest percentage jump occurred in the Southern Plains where prices rose 4.7 percent. The Pacific States boast the highest valued cropland at $6,780 per acre. The Corn Belt states were close behind at $6,710 per acre.

• Average pastureland value in the U.S. jumped 3 percent in 2018 to $1,390 per acre. The Southeast states had the highest pastureland value at $3,990 per acre, buoyed largely by Florida’s $5,200 per acre value.

• Researchers at the Noble Research Institute are working to breed a drought-tolerant tall fescue.

• The Pennsylvania Forage and Grassland Council will sponsor a hay show at that state’s Ag Progress Days. The deadline for sample delivery is 10 a.m. on August 14 at the event.

• In what was the most ironic news story of the week, some vanilla almond milk is being recalled because it contains . . . well . . . milk.