June 27, 2017

• Rising potato leafhopper populations in alfalfa fields were being reported from a number of states during the past week.

• Drought conditions are intensifying in the Dakotas. Cattle are being sold off in an effort to deal with the situation, reports Bloomberg.

• Early weaning is being discussed in both North and South Dakota as a strategy to conserve forage.

• Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.1 million head on June 1, according to USDA’s Cattle on Feed report. The inventory was 3 percent above one year ago. Placements in feedlots during May totaled 2.12 million head, 12 percent above 2016.

• Milk production in the United States during May totaled 18.9 billion pounds, up 1.8 percent from May 2016. USDA reports that the number of milk cows on farms was 9.39 million head, 71,000 head more than May 2016 and 2,000 head more than April 2017.

• Both California and Wisconsin showed year-over-year declines in milk production for May. California was down 1.1 percent and Wisconsin was 0.7 percent lower. It was the first Badger State year-over-year decline since April 2014.

June 20, 2017

• It’s here — National Forage Week. Let’s all commit to doing one thing that spreads the good word about the benefits forage crops contribute to agriculture and our society.

• Both bermudagrass stem maggot and sugarcane aphid damage are being reported in Georgia.

• Drought conditions in North Dakota are worsening. A feedlist website has been developed by North Dakota State University to help match sellers and buyers of hay and other feed commodities.

• A similar website to link forage buyers and sellers has been set up in Wisconsin where some areas experienced widespread alfalfa winterkill.

• The U.S. Department of Justice has approved the merger of Dow and DuPont, which had already been given the go-ahead in Europe, Brazil, and China. Some divestitures were a part of the agreement but none seem to be related to any of the seed divisions.

• Following a rash of severe thunderstorms, hail events, and tornadoes, farmers and ranchers are advised to check silage storage facilities. This includes seals around silage piles, bunkers, bags, and baleage. Also check for holes created by large hail. A small hole can result in significant feed damage.

June 13, 2017

• U.S. alfalfa hay exports in April totaled 268,780 metric tons (MT), according to the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service. That was just slightly below the record-setting month of March but 40 percent higher than April 2016.

• Alfalfa hay exports to China again led the way in April at 122,612 MT, which was 40,329 MT more than the previous year and slightly more than their March total. Japan followed China with 52,434 MT imported.

• Native rangeland grasses are losing forage quality compared to 20 years ago, according to a news release from Texas A&M AgriLife Communications.

• The American Forage and Grassland Council and the Forage and Grassland Foundation are sponsoring a Western Hay & Forage Tour from August 22 to 30. The tour will begin in Pocatello, Idaho, and conclude in Seattle, Wash.

• A new reference bulletin on identifying toxic plants in Midwest pastures and forages is available from the University of Wisconsin.

June 6, 2017

· Wilbur-Ellis Agribusiness, a marketer and distributor of crop protection, seed, and nutritional products, has announced an agreement with S&W Seed Company to provide S&W's alfalfa seed varieties at Wilbur-Ellis' more than 160 retail locations throughout the United States.

· The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is reminding farmers to get orders in for the biocontrol nematodes that help protect alfalfa crops from the alfalfa snout beetle. It’s recommended to apply the biocontrol nematodes on alfalfa fields in the seeding year or first production year for best economic impact. Nematodes should be ordered from the Shields Lab at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., at least 45 days prior to the planned application date. Contact the Shields Lab at 607-591-1493 for cost and details.

· Assessments from economists, agronomists, and other experts with the University of Arkansas estimated the impact of rain and flooding between May 8 and May 12 on Arkansas cropland at approximately $175 million in losses, affecting about 360,000 acres.

· Sixty-three percent of U.S. pastures are rated in Excellent or Good condition, based on reporting in USDA’s Crop Progress report. The worst pasture conditions are being reported in Florida where only 12 percent of pastures are rated as Excellent or Good.

· Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11 million head on May 1. The inventory was 2 percent above one year ago, according to USDA’s Cattle on Feed report. Marketings of fed cattle during April totaled 1.70 million head, 3 percent above 2016.