May 25, 2021

• Milk production during April totaled 19.3 billion pounds, up 3.3% from April 2020. Production per cow in the U.S. averaged 2,033 pounds for April, 40 pounds above one year ago. The nation’s dairy herd numbered 9.49 million head, 113,000 head more than last year, and 16,000 head more than March 2021.

• Year-to-year comparisons will be tricky for a while as last year’s pandemic made it anything but a “normal” year. Even so, all current milk production metrics are at the high end of the historical scale.

• Cattle and calves on feed for the U.S. slaughter market in feedlots with capacity of over 1,000 head totaled 11.7 million on May 1. The inventory was 5% above a year ago and is the second highest May 1 inventory since tracking began in 1996. Marketings of fed cattle during April totaled 1.94 million head, a whopping 33% above 2020.

• Give these considerations some thought before and after taking your first cutting of hay.

• What’s growing in your pasture may offer insight into soil fertility issues.

May 18, 2021

• Alfalfa weevil activity is really picking up in many states. It’s time to scout.

• Here are a few tips from Penn State University on avoiding soil compaction while grazing cover crops.

Managed grazing with a full-time job is possible.

• Sacrifice paddocks may be needed during drought conditions, too.

• The Indiana Forage Council is offering two grazing schools during June.

May 11, 2021

• Despite the logistics problems that are inherent with shipping these days, total alfalfa hay exports during March totaled a whopping 282,486 metric tons (MT), according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. It was the highest total for March ever recorded and the second highest total for any month on record.

• China led the charge by importing 143,532 MT, accounting for over 50% of U.S. alfalfa hay exports. The total was 42% higher than one year ago. Japan was second in line behind China, importing 58,971 MT of U.S. alfalfa during March.

• Through March, total alfalfa hay exports are running about 1.4% (8,000 MT) ahead of last year.

• Mississippi State University’s Rocky Lemus provides information on new herbicide technologies for hay and pasture systems.

• Penn State University offers some additional advice for spring weed control in grass hayfields and pastures.

May 4, 2021

• The University of California in Davis recently released a cost study for producing organic hay.

• Wisconsin’s updated custom rate guide is now available.

• Milk production in 2020 was up 2.2% compared to 2019, according to the USDA. Dairy farmers in the U.S. shipped 223 billion pounds of milk during the year. The average amount of milk produced per cow was 23,777 pounds, which was 382 pounds above 2019. The annual average number of milk cows on farms was 9.39 million head, up 51,000 head from the previous year.

California’s water situation is dire.

• Cornell University’s Joe Lawrence suggests that forage digestibility is the key to combatting high commodity prices.