June 30, 2020
• The University of Minnesota provided this informative podcast on alfalfa nutrient management.
• Apparently, even dung beetles prefer novel endophyte tall fescue.
• Have you ever wondered how to stage corn? Well, here’s how.
• University of Florida specialists suggest that sorghum silage is a cost-effective alternative for backgrounding weaned cattle.
• Here are some interesting thoughts on how cow size has influenced our forage management.
June 23, 2020
• Not surprisingly, May milk production in the U.S. dropped 1.1% compared to a year ago, according to USDA’s Milk Production report. Many dairy farmers scrambled to find ways to reduce production in response to the crash in demand brought on by COVID-19. The lower year-over-year production decline was the largest in 10 years.
• Don’t expect the dip in production to last too long. Milk prices, in response to government dairy purchases and a reopening economy, have risen dramatically in recent weeks. July futures topped $21 per hundredweight.
• Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in U.S. feedlots (capacity over 1,000 head) totaled 11.7 million head on June 1. The inventory was slightly below one year ago, according to USDA’s Cattle on Feed report. This is the second highest June 1 inventory since the series began in 1996. Marketings of fed cattle during May totaled 1.5 million head, 28% below 2019. Marketings were the lowest for May since the series began in 1996.
• University of Florida specialists recently touted sorghum silage as a cost-effective means to background weaned cattle.
• The Alliance for Grassland Renewal has launched a new website.
June 16, 2020
• Research at the University of Missouri shows the benefit to interseeding sunn hemp into existing tall fescue pastures as means to provide additional summer forage for grazing.
• Noble Research Institute is in search of forage-efficient cows.
• It’s always a good idea to monitor the risks for high-nitrate forages, according to specialists at North Dakota State University.
• Milk prices have made the greatest comeback since a 60-something Rocky Balboa returned to the boxing ring. After falling to a low of below $11 per cwt. in mid-April when some farmers were dumping milk, June Class III milk prices are currently sitting at well over $20 per cwt.
• Even with the cancellation of World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis., we have been assured that the World Forage Analysis Superbowl forage contest will still take place. The organizers will be meeting soon to formulate details.
June 9, 2020
• Forage producers in the southeast U.S. are being asked to complete a short survey regarding current perceptions of the challenges and future educational needs for growing alfalfa in the region. The short, 10-minute survey can be found here.
• April was a strong month for exports of U.S. alfalfa hay with 290,283 metric tons (MT) being shipped worldwide. That’s the highest April total ever realized and 35% above one year ago, according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
• China was again a big buyer of U.S. alfalfa in April, purchasing 127,439 MT. That was 109% more than April 2019. Both Japan and South Korea were also up significantly from a year ago.
• University of Wisconsin-Extension specialists note that a little fertilizer can result in more pasture forage.
• Michigan State University’s Kim Cassida provides this nice video overview of growing summer annuals in the Northern states.
June 2, 2020
• We are sorry to report the passing of Keith Bolsen, known to many as The Silageman. Keith was an expert on silage and making safer, better forages. He and his wife founded the Keith Bolsen Silage Safety Foundation, and he embraced his mission to make everyone aware of how to work safely with silage, sending everyone home safe during harvest and while feeding it.
• This grazing season, remember the four principles of pasture management.
• Needless to say, COVID-19 has taken its toll on cattle movement. Cattle and calves on feed for the U.S. slaughter market (feedlots of over 1,000 head) totaled 11.2 million head on May 1. The inventory was 5% below one year ago. Placements in feedlots during April totaled 1.43 million head, 22% below 2019. Placements were the second lowest for April since tracking began in 1996. Marketings of fed cattle during April totaled 1.46 million head, 24% below 2019. April marketings are the lowest since 1996.
• USDA officials and federal prosecutors are investigating why there is such a wide gap between what consumers are paying for beef at the grocery store (the highest in decades) and the rock-bottom prices that livestock producers are receiving for their cattle.
• In 2019, the USDA reports that 22.3 million acres were enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). A large chunk of that land can be found in the Great Plains from Texas to Montana.
• Many large haymaking operations and custom forage harvesters have turned to temporary H2-A workers (often from South Africa) to work during the harvest season. According to USDA, the number of H2-A workers in the U.S. now numbers over 250,000, a fivefold increase since 2005.