January 28, 2020

• Milk production in the U.S. was up 0.7% in December compared to one year ago, according to USDA’s Milk Production report. This marked the sixth consecutive month that milk output exceeded 2018 totals.

• Dairy farmers finished the year by producing 0.3% more milk than 2018. Although cow numbers are down by 14,000 from a year ago, milk production averaged 246 pounds per cow higher for 2019.

• Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the U.S. (feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head) totaled 12 million head on January 1. The inventory was 2% above one year ago. Placements in feedlots during December totaled 1.83 million head, 3 percent above 2019.

• The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put a final bow on their effort to redefine the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule with the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. The rule will streamline the definition so that it includes four simple categories of jurisdictional waters.

• Congratulations to the Merit Award winners at the American Forage and Grassland Council’s Annual Conference in Greenville, S.C. They were: Kim Mullenix, Auburn University, Auburn, Ala.; Peter Ballerstedt, Barenbrug USA, Tangent, Ore.; and Bill Anderson, USDA-ARS, Tifton, Ga.

January 21, 2020

• Sorghum silage acres in the U.S. increased by 28.4% in 2019 to 339,000, according to USDA. Average yield declined from 12.6 tons per acre in 2018 to 11.9. Overall, sorghum silage production was up by 21% in 2019.

• Registrations are now being taken for the Grassfed Exchange Conference, which will be held in Fort Worth, Texas, from May 27 to 29.

• Congratulations are in order for several award recipients at the American Forage and Grassland Council’s Annual Conference held in Greenville, S.C. Dennis Hancock, forage extension specialist at the University of Georgia, was given the Medallion Award. Tom Keene, University of Kentucky, and Matt Poore, North Carolina State University, received Distinguished Grasslander honors.

• Recent snowstorms in the Pacific Northwest have greatly improved the snowpack situation, according to The Hoyt Report. Prior to two weeks ago, the snow water equivalent (SWE) in the Cascade Mountains ranged from 24% to 67%. The range is now 83% to 103%. The snowpack situation is currently at or above the historical average across the Western region.

• Total farm tractor sales in 2019 were up 3.6%, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). Four-wheel drive farm tractor sales were up 5.6%.

January 14, 2020

• November saw the smallest amount of alfalfa hay exports since June. Still, total exports from January through November are running 7% ahead of 2018. For more details, see Callen’s Comments.

• According to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. corn silage acres jumped by 467,000 in 2019 compared to the previous year. The average yield per acre was 20.2 tons, up 0.3 tons from 2018. Total U.S. corn silage production was up over 9% in 2019.

• Wisconsin was far and away the leader in corn silage production in 2019 with 18.2 million tons packed away in silos. California followed the Badger State with 10.7 million tons harvested.

• A horse ranch in Mauston, Wis., recently lost 14 horses after feeding them purchased hay tainted with blister beetles.

• Corteva Agriscience submitted for approval a new selective herbicide for broadleaf weed control on pastureland to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This herbicide, called ProClova, will preserve white clover and annual lespedeza. It’s expected to be available for use in 2021.

January 7, 2020

• The California Department of Water Resources reported on its first Sierra Mountain snowpack measurements for 2020 on January 2. The combined data for all of the sampled locations was 90% of the historical average.

• The Northwest Hay Expo kicks off January 15 in Kennewick, Wash. Registrations can be done online.

• Here’s some advice on keeping those cattle waterers in a liquid state when temperatures plummet.

• Yes, there is power in one wire.

• The 2020 Grassworks Grazing Conference will be held January 23 through 25 in Wisconsin Dells, Wis. There’s still time to register for this long-standing event.