October 25, 2022

• Dairy cows cranked out more milk in September as year-over-year production in the U.S. rose by 1.5%. It was the third consecutive month of higher production compared to 2021. Most of the movement is attributed to production per cow.

• Milk cow numbers in the U.S. have declined by 8,000 since May. Even so, the September herd remained 6,000 cows larger than a year ago.

• Cattle and calves on feed for the U.S. slaughter market in feedlots (capacity of 1,000 or more head) totaled 11.4 million head on October 1. The inventory was 1% below a year ago. Placements in feedlots during September totaled 2.08 million head, 4% below 2021. Marketings of fed cattle during September totaled 1.86 million head, which was 4% above last year.

• Harvesting forages after a hard freeze evokes a new set of considerations.

• If hayfields didn’t get mowed this fall, is that a problem?

October 18, 2022

• In October’s Crop Production report, USDA dropped its U.S. dry alfalfa hay yield estimate from August by 0.1 tons per acre. Alfalfa production is now expected to be 48.8 million tons, which is 1% below last year’s final tally. These estimates don’t include alfalfa harvested as haylage. The final numbers won’t be available until January.

• It was the same story for hay other than alfalfa. Average yield was reduced from 1.88 tons per acre in August to 1.75 tons in October. Total U.S. production is expected to be down by nearly 5% compared to 2021. Drought states in the Southern Plains were hit especially hard.

• Prescribed burns play a critical role in producing a robust, resilient grass resource.

• Fire is good for grasslands but not for balers.

• Not all novel endophyte tall fescue varieties are created equal.

October 11, 2022

• Alfalfa hay exports to all countries totaled 337,189 metric tons (MT) during August, which was up 17% from a year ago. Through August, alfalfa hay exports are now about 4% ahead of 2021, according to the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Some market experts feel the recent USDA export volumes are inflated in 2022.

• Exports of alfalfa hay to China were especially high during August. It imported 228,015 MT of U.S. product during the month. If real, this would be a record-high monthly amount, but the volume seems inflated. Through August, alfalfa exports to China were running nearly 9% ahead of last year.

• For hay other than alfalfa, exports to all countries through August are about 8% behind 2021. The strong dollar is tempering exports to countries such as Japan, which is the largest purchaser of U.S. timothy hay.

Consider toxicity issues when grazing this fall.

Practice patience with your stockpiled forage.

October 4, 2022

The Dairy-Forage Seminars at World Dairy Expo begin tomorrow.

Check for adequate corn silage processing during harvest.

Ammonia treatment of low-quality forages is an effective approach to improve forage quality. Be safe in doing so.

Hurricane Ian could worsen the fertilizer price outlook.

North Dakota State researchers are working to establish alfalfa under sunflower or sorghum.

One farmer’s experience with bale grazing in South Dakota.