April 30, 2024

• Milk production in March was down 1% year-over-year at 19.6 billion pounds, according to USDA’s Milk Production report. This was the ninth consecutive month of decline, with milk production failing to meet year-ago levels in most major dairy states.

• A steep drop in the nation’s dairy herd size suggests milk output will continue to fall short of 2023 volumes. Cow numbers fell 98,000 head in March, marking the steepest yearly decline since 2010.

• Tune into University of Minnesota Extension’s alfalfa harvest alert program updates.

• Keep an eye on Kentucky bluegrass in pastures and hayfields.

• Beware of dallisgrass staggers in grazing livestock.

April 23, 2024

• Cattle and calves on feed for the U.S. slaughter market in feedlots with capacity of at least 1,000 animals totaled 11.8 million head on April 1. This was 1% greater than last year’s April inventory. Placements during March totaled 1.75 million head, and marketings of fed cattle were 1.71 million head.

• Take advantage of good planting conditions to establish forage stands this spring.

Sweet vernal grass isn’t doing hayfields any favors.

• Damage to bromegrass fields could be from white grubs.

• Poison hemlock and wild chervil are two weedy look-alikes.

April 16, 2024

• The month of March marked the 10th consecutive month of record-high heat around the globe.

• Does your alfalfa stand need a boost? Consider interseeding with grass.

Check out this webinar from University of Nebraska Extension about pasture lease provisions and beef cow share agreements.

Alfalfa weevil development is ahead of schedule in southern Iowa.

Review these safety reminders for farm equipment on public roads.

April 9, 2024

• In February, all U.S. hay exports totaled 275,535 MT, according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. All hay exports to Japan in particular were up 16% from January at 89,562 MT. The country recently raised its interest rate for the first time in 17 years, which could be good news for future exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and Japanese yen.

• U.S. alfalfa hay exports totaled 186,908 MT in February, which was more than 9% greater than January and almost 15% greater than February 2023. China held a strong lead as the top alfalfa hay export market in February at 85,262 MT, followed by Japan at 37,336 MT and Saudi Arabia at 18,779 MT.

• Several states slashed their fertilizer use from 2017 to 2022 in addition to implementing more conservative farming practices.

• Here is a list of reminders for spring forage establishment.

Scout for timothy mites to prevent grass yield and quality loss.

April 2, 2024

• The first USDA Prospective Plantings report of the year pegged all harvested hay acres at 51.56 million for 2024. This was almost 1.3 million acres fewer than the final total in 2023, but it is up 2.8 million acres from that of 2022. However, changes to this year’s estimate are to be expected as the year progresses.

• Corn planted for all purposes was pegged at 90 million acres in the same report. This is down 5% from the final total in 2023, with lower or unchanged acreage anticipated in 38 of the 48 estimating states.

• The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Md., could slow farm machinery shipments.

Two invasive weeds are causing a stir in Missouri pastures and hayfields.

Sheep grazing boosts grape and wine production in the Napa Valley.