April 25, 2017

· March milk production in the United States was up 1.7 percent compared to last year. According to USDA’s Milk Production report, the national dairy herd now stands at 9.38 million head, gaining 15,000 from February and 59,000 more than March 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 10.9 million head on April 1; this was slightly above one year ago, according to USDA’s Cattle on Feed report released last week.

· Placements in feedlots during March totaled 2.10 million head, 11 percent above 2016. Placements were the highest for March since the reporting series began in 1996. Marketings of fed cattle during March totaled 1.91 million head, 10 percent above 2016.

· Minnesota extension workers have heard “numerous” reports of varying levels of alfalfa winter injury and winterkill. Low areas in fields were hit especially hard.

· Walmart recently announced a new initiative called Project Gigaton. According to their website, the collective goal is to eliminate 1 gigaton worth of emissions from their suppliers by 2030. That’s equal to three times the annual emissions of the state of California. Food-chain suppliers will be a major component of the project.

April 18, 2017

· The Ohio State University recently announced the remake of their forages website.

· Frequent rainfalls are making it difficult to put up Premium quality hay in California this spring. It’s been a while since this could be said.

· Forage Genetics International (FGI) filed a lawsuit on April 17 against Alforex Seeds LLC in the U.S. District Court. The suit alleges that Alforex makes false and misleading claims in its advertising and promotional materials in regard to their low-lignin Hi-Gest alfalfa varieties. FGI is the developer and marketer of HarvXtra, a genetically modified reduced-lignin alfalfa trait.

· Other than Washington and Oregon, it was a warm January through March. For six states, it was the warmest on record.

· According to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ monthly Flash Report, sales of two-wheel drive 100-plus horsepower tractors were down 15 percent in March compared to the same month last year. Conversely, four-wheel drive tractors were up 21 percent.

· Seattle/Tacoma (Washington) shipping ports have recaptured some of the activity for alfalfa exports to China, according to the Hoyt Report. Though Los Angeles/Long Beach (California) ports still shipped about 23,000 metric tons (MT) more than the Washington ports, that gap was over 60,000 MT in July 2016. Possible reasons for the shift are lower alfalfa hay prices in the Pacific Northwest and greater availability of Premium quality hay.

April 11, 2017

· All baled hay exports during the first two months of 2017 were up 12 percent compared to that same period last year. Alfalfa hay exports to all trade partners were up 26 percent.

· China is still the 800-pound gorilla in the U.S. alfalfa export world. In February, China imported 109,541 metric tons (MT) of alfalfa hay. That was a 50 percent bump from January and 43 percent more than February 2016, according to the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service.

· In the “More than Last Year” category, Saudi Arabia takes home the prize. Their February import total of U.S. alfalfa hay was 18,574 MT, 155 percent more than 2016. Saudi Arabia has passed South Korea as an importer of U.S. alfalfa and is getting close to United Arab Emirates as our third biggest alfalfa export partner.

· A bipartisan Congressional Beef Caucus was re-established on Capitol Hill last week. It will be co-chaired by U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas).

· The amount of area experiencing drought in U.S. major and minor hay production areas has declined marginally to 13 percent since last summer. Though California has seen significant improvement, there are still large areas in the Plains, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and New England where drought conditions are being reported.

April 4, 2017

· All-hay acres in the U.S. are expected to total 52.8 million in 2017. That’s a drop of 1 percent from last year, according to USDA’s Prospective Plantings report released last week. Texas acres are projected to be down 11 percent, while California is expected to harvest 8 percent fewer acres.

· Farmers also intend to plant an estimated 89.5 million acres of soybeans in 2017, up 7 percent from last year, which would be a record high. Corn acres for all purposes are expected to drop by 4 percent with a projection of 90 million.

· The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt signed an order denying a petition that sought to ban chlorpyrifos, the active ingredient in several commonly used insecticides, including Lorsban. According to an EPA news release, USDA and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture supported the action.

· Kansas State University has updated its bulletin “Rangeland Management Following Wildfire.”

· The merger of Dow Chemical and DuPont got approval from the European Union, but some divestment concessions had to be made.