October 25, 2016

· USDA’s Milk Production report revealed a year-over-year production gain of 2.3 percent. Milk production in the 23 leading dairy states during September totaled 16 billion pounds.

· The number of milk cows on farms was 8.67 million head, 36,000 head more than September 2015, but 2,000 head less than August 2016.

· Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.3 million head on October 1. The inventory was slightly above one year ago, according to USDA’s Cattle on Feed report.

· The same report noted that placements in feedlots during September totaled 1.91 million head, 2 percent below 2015 and the lowest for September since this metric started being tracked in 1996. Marketings of fed cattle during September totaled 1.73 million head, 5 percent above 2015.

· W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “The dairyman is in commercial relations with the cow in two places, first, as to the character of the cow, and second, as to the character of her feed.”

October 18, 2016

· BREAKING NEWS: Here are the results of the Southeast Hay Contest, which were announced at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Ga.

· John Deere recently announced a joint development agreement with Scherer Design Engineering Inc., based in Tea, S.D., to develop and commercialize kernel processors for their self-propelled forage harvesters.

· USDA’s October Crop Production report pegged corn production at 15.1 billion bushels, up 11 percent from last year but down slightly from the September forecast. Corn yields are expected to average 173.4 bushels per acre, down 1 bushel from the September forecast but up 5 bushels from 2015. If realized, this will be the highest yield and production on record for the United States.

· Purdue agricultural economist David Widmar reports that fertilizer prices have been softening considerably in recent months; this could translate into another year of lower fertilizer prices for producers. Says Widmar, “The declining prices have created the potential for another round of significant per acre cost reductions in fertilizer expenses.”

· The U.S. Department of Commerce reports August alfalfa exports totaled 247,888 metric tons (MT). That’s up about 10 percent from July and 37 percent higher than August 2015. China continued to lead the pack of export partners with 124,179 MT for August. Japan was a distant second place at 43,762 MT.

· W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “If the last growth of alfalfa is left standing, the alfalfa winters better. What it does is to shade the crown from the winter sun, help hold the snow better, and thus afford what might be called a winter mulch.”

October 11, 2016

· Registration is now open for the American Forage and Grassland Council Conference that will be held January 22 to 24 in Roanoke, Va.

· The USDA Food Safety Inspection Service recently clarified the “Grass Fed” label on beef, requiring that animals must solely consume grasses (forage). Animals cannot be fed grain or grain by-products and must have continuous access to pasture during the growing season until slaughter. Written documentation will be needed.

· At last week’s World Dairy Expo, DuPont Pioneer announced the availability of two new alfalfa varieties with the HarvXtra reduced-lignin trait. They will join several other seed marketers that have already announced having unique HarvXtra varieties available for 2017 planting.

· As of October 2, the U.S. corn harvest was 24 percent complete. This is the same as 2015, but slightly behind the five-year running average, according to USDA’s Crop Progress report. Recently, significant rainfall has hampered the corn harvest in many areas.

· W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “Corn silage and good alfalfa hay about solve the problem of a cheap ration for cows. It needs but a small amount of grain to keep them in full flow of milk.”

October 4, 2016

· World Dairy Expo kicks off today in Madison, Wis. Over 70,000 people are expected to attend with visitors from nearly 100 different countries.

· Winners of the World Forage Analysis Superbowl will be announced at a luncheon being held on Wednesday.

· Some of the worst pasture conditions in the U.S. are still being reported from the Northeast.States such as Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts report well over 50 percent of their pastures are in Poor or Very Poor condition.

· The National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance’s 2016 Intensive Alfalfa Training Seminarwill be held in Boise, Idaho, November 15 to 17. For more information, click here.

· W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “As farmers, we must constantly keep in mindthat there is no animal on the farm that possesses the power to transform coarse forage and grain into the highest order of human food like the cow. But the lesson for us to consider is how we can best aid this wonderful animal in her transforming power.”