December 31, 2019

• Let’s all be reminded and learn once again of the dangers of silo gas following the death of three individuals, including an 11-year-old boy, in Millerville, Minn.

• Not surprisingly, most farm organizations are offering their strong approval of the House of Representatives’ passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The Senate is expected to take up the legislation early in 2020.

• As you turn the calendar to 2020, be mindful of the plethora of forage conferences and events being held throughout the U.S.

• A North Dakota State dairy specialist notes that preservatives make wet hay useable.

• We’ve noticed many state universities have released their forage variety and corn hybrid performance data over the past several weeks. This is great information to aid in your seed purchasing decisions for 2020.

December 24, 2019

• Milk production in the U.S. during November totaled 17.4 billion pounds, up 0.5 percent from November 2018. Analysts were actually expecting a larger rise in production. Production per cow averaged 1,869 pounds for November, 15 pounds above a year ago but down 65 pounds from October.

• The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.33 million head in November. This number was unchanged from October but 27,000 head less than a year ago.

• Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the U.S. totaled 12 million head on December 1, 2019 (feedlots over 1,000 head capacity). The inventory was 2% above last year. Placements in feedlots during November totaled 2.09 million head, 5% above 2018.

More evidence from South Dakota State University and the Midwest Forage Association that shows proper storage of round bales pays dividends.

• Not necessarily forage related but of interest nonetheless, Virginia farmer David Hula obliterated the corn yield record by harvesting 616 bushels per acre in the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Yield Contest. The previous record was 542 bushels per acre, which was also set by Hula in 2017. One can only imagine what the corn silage yield might have been.

December 17, 2019

• Here are some tips from North Dakota State University on how to stretch limited hay supplies.

• Time is running short to get registered for the American Forage and Grassland Conference in Greenville, S.C., which runs from January 5 to 8.

• Next year’s U.S. Custom Harvester’s Convention will be held in Hot Springs, Ark., on January 30 to February 1. You must be a member to attend.

Careful grazing is needed following a wet fall.

• According to this Kentucky forage specialist, it could be a long hay-feeding season.

December 10, 2019

• If you haven’t heard, NASS is planning to stop the collection of county-level hay production data due to budget constraints. This would be a blow to the hay industry. The National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance (NAFA) is encouraging growers and others in the industry to voice your opposition. NAFA has created a website where this can easily be done. Comments must be made by December 16.

• A shocker: China imported 128,582 metric tons (MT) of U.S. alfalfa during October, according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. That beat the country’s previous record of 123,796 MT in August 2016, and is clearly a direct result of the temporary lifting of retaliatory tariffs on alfalfa. For comparison, China imported only 38,178 MT of U.S. alfalfa in October 2018.

• Total U.S. alfalfa exports for January through October are now running 7 percent ahead of 2018.

• Here’s the year-to-date (January through October) scorecard on U.S. alfalfa exports with our top five trade partners compared to last year: China (down 8 percent), Japan (up 18 percent), Saudi Arabia (down 5 percent), United Arab Emirates (up 40 percent), and South Korea (up 13 percent).

• Vermeer Corporation (Pella, Iowa) recently announced it has purchased Schuler Manufacturing based in Griswold, Iowa. Schuler manufactures a complete line of TMR mixers and feed wagons. Both companies are family-owned.

December 3, 2019

• The National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance (NAFA) recently announced the release of their 2020 “Alfalfa Variety Ratings” bulletin, which provides extensive information on all marketed alfalfa varieties. A copy of the bulletin is printed in the November issue of Hay & Forage Grower or it is available online here.

• Here’s some things to keep in mind if you plan to graze soybean stubble.

• RCI, a machinery engineering firm based in Mayville, Wis., recently announced their purchase of Ag-Bag (St. Nazianz, Wis.) from CNH Industrial America.

• Texas A&M AgriLife Extension tells us that cool-season weeds can be just as detrimental as their warm-season counterparts.

• When buying hay, consider both quality and value.