November 29, 2016

USDA pegged harvested alfalfa acreage in the U.S. at 18.1 million acres in their November Crop Production report. That’s 87,000 more acres than was harvested in 2015.

In contrast to the above item, Seth Hoyt reports that irrigated alfalfa acres in the Imperial Valley of California are down 1 percent from mid-November of 2015.

Add South Dakota to the list of recently released corn hybrid silage performance results.

Got a great forage photo? Enter the American Forage and Grassland Council’s Photo Contest. The deadline for submission is December 31. Click here for rules and categories.

W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago, “Here are the three cardinal principles of dairy farming: good land, good crops, and good cows. But at the bottom lies good land and a farmer wise enough to keep it good.”

November 22, 2016

A couple of universities announced the availability of 2016 corn silage hybrid performance trial results last week: Cornell and Wisconsin. Results are also available from Penn State.

USDA reports that the average field and livestock worker combined wage rate was $12.50 per hour, up 3 percent from October 2015. The lowest combined rate of $10.40 per hour was paid in the Delta (Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas), while the highest wage of $14.45 was paid in the Pacific region (Oregon and Washington).

Milk production in the U.S. (23 major dairy states) totaled 16.5 billion pounds during October, up 2.7 percent from October 2015 and 3.1 percent higher than the previous month. The number of milk cows dropped by 2,000 head from September.

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the U.S. totaled 10.7 million head on November 1, down 1 percent from a year ago. Marketings of fed cattle during October totaled 1.71 million head, 5 percent above 2015.

The American Farm Bureau Federation's annual price survey pegged the cost of this year’s Thanksgiving feast for 10 people at $49.87, down 24 cents from 2015. Regardless of what you spend, enjoy the family day . . . there’s plenty to be thankful for.

November 15, 2016

• USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service reports that alfalfa hay exports to China totaled 90,829 metric tons (MT) in September. This was down from 124,179 MT in August, but up from 60,241 MT in September 2015.

• The next closest importer of U.S. alfalfa hay remains Japan. It imported 37,147 MT in September, slightly more than one year ago.

• USDA pegged corn production at 15.2 billion bushels in their November Crop Production report. The expected average corn yield was raised by nearly 2 bushels per acre from the previous month to 175.3. If realized, both production and yield level will set all-time U.S. records.

Wisconsin forage agronomist Dan Undersander received the Agronomic Extension Education and Agronomic Service Awards from the American Society of Agronomy. He also received the Crop Science Extension Education Award from the Crop Science Society of America. All three awards were presented at the societies’ 2016 International Meeting in Phoenix, Ariz., last week.

• W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “From chemists, and men who study the soil from that standpoint, has come all the improved knowledge we have as to fertilizers and soil regeneration. That is brain work of a mighty high order.”

November 8, 2016

• Regions in northern Georgia and Alabama have now seen their driest 60 days on record.

• CNH Industrial, owner of New Holland Agriculture, has agreed to purchase Danish hay tool equipment manufacturer Kongskilde Industries. They also will acquire tillage tool interests.

• Alfalfa seed supplies are being described as “adequate” or better by virtually all marketers. Per usual, the most popular varieties will be in shortest supply and should be ordered early for 2017 plantings.

• Thousands of scientists converge on Phoenix, Ariz., this week for the joint meetings of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America.

• W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “Cows not only vary in the amount of milk and its fat content but also in the quantity and value of the feed consumed to produce milk. While it is true that small yields are seldom profitable, it is also true that the largest yields do not always return the most profit.”

November 1, 2016

· Here in southern Wisconsin, there has yet to be sub-32°F killing frost as we enter November.

· A wet October in the West has caused a lot of Plan B’s for hay growers. Some fields were chopped for high-moisture haylage, while others may be mulching cut fields. On the plus side, the moisture was needed.

· Based on USDA-ARS research in Tifton, Ga., the optimum fertilizer ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for Tifton 85 bermudagrass is 4-5-1, assuming typical southeast U.S. rainfall patterns. The most economic nitrogen rate was found to be 300 to 400 pounds per acre.

· The average number of milk cows in the United States during July to September was 9.34 million head, 9,000 head more than the April to June quarter, and 21,000 head more than the same period last year.

· W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “But every farmer should always keep in sight that principle of the 'food of maintenance.' Thus it pays him to put the food before the cow in the best shape possible for milk production, else she will take too much out of it for maintenance. The hay and all roughage must be sweet and palatable, and good variety must be provided. Men who make a study of these things know the truth.”