January 30, 2024

• Milk production in the U.S. was 18.8 billion pounds in December, lagging just 0.3% behind the previous year. Total milk production in 2023 was about 226.6 billion pounds, which was merely 0.04% higher than 2022. The nation’s dairy herd shrank by 39,000 head in December year-over-year, although annual milk production per cow was up slightly.

The International Silage Conference will be held in Gainesville, Fla., July 21 to 24, 2025. Research topics to be presented at the conference include silage production, conservation, and feeding.

Spring-like temperatures could cause issues in perennial crop fields across the central U.S.

• Here are some short- and long-term solutions to prevent damage in winter pastures.

• Brush up on what gives ruminants the power to turn forages into high-quality protein.

January 23, 2024

• Cattle and calves on feed for the U.S. slaughter market (feedlots with more than 1,000 head capacity) totaled 1.19 million head on January 1. Placements in feedlots during December were 4% lower than the previous year at 1.70 million head. Marketings of fed cattle were down 1% year-over-year at 1.73 million head.

• Pay attention to these key pieces of information on alfalfa seed labels.

• Ohio State University Extension is offering a six-week online precision livestock farming program for beef producers.

• Feed high-quality forage now to help cows gain body condition before breeding season.

• Here’s the nitty gritty on healthy soil.

January 16, 2024

• Ray Smith, an extension forage specialist with the University of Kentucky, was presented the Allen Illumination Award at last week’s American Forage and Grassland Council’s Annual Conference in Mobile, Ala. The Distinguished Grasslander Award went to Jimmy Henning with the University of Kentucky, and Derek Woodfield received the Medallion Award.

• Alfalfa hay exports to China totaled 99,402 metric tons (MT) in November, which was up 16% from the previous month. Also in November, all hay exports to China exceeded 100,000 MT for the first time in 2023.

• All hay exports to Japan topped the monthly charts at 84,338 MT in November as well. This includes 34,839 MT of alfalfa hay, which was 15% more than October.

• Minerals make up a small portion of livestock diets, but supplementation can be critical for animal health and performance.

• According to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, total U.S. sales for two-wheel drive tractors under 40 horsepower (hp) in 2023 were down 10.7% from 2022, and 40 to 100 hp tractor sales fell 9.1%. Sales for 100-plus hp tractors were up 5.2%, and four-wheel drive tractor sales were up 31.7%.

January 9, 2024

• December brought record-high temperatures to almost every region of the United States. All but one climate district in the contiguous U.S. had an above-average month.

• On average, 2023 corn silage was slightly lower in neutral detergent fiber and higher in starch than the previous year, according to this Iowa State University webinar.

• Register for the 2024 Alfalfa School that will be held next month in Great Bend, Kan.

• When temperatures go down, cows’ energy requirements go up.

• Follow these winter grazing tips for a more flexible system.

January 2, 2024

• Cattle and calves on feed for the U.S. slaughter market in feedlots over 1,000 head capacity totaled 12 million on December 1. The inventory was 3% greater than the previous year. Placements in feedlots during November fell 2% year-over-year at 1.87 million head. Marketings of fed cattle during November totaled 1.75 million head, which was 7% below 2022.

• Registration is now open for the Novel Endophyte Renovation Workshops that will be held in Tennessee, Arkansas, and West Virginia in March.

• Here’s how to calculate the value of poultry litter.

• Only time will tell if there has been ice damage to alfalfa.

Winter grazing can improve pasture value without sacrificing spring growth.