June 29, 2021

• Milk continues to gush from the nation’s dairy farms. Production during May totaled 19.9 billion pounds, up 4.6% from May 2020. Production per cow averaged 2,088 pounds for May, 61 pounds above a year ago.

• Cattle and calves on feed for the U.S. slaughter market (feedlots with 1,000 or more animals) totaled 11.7 million head on June 1. The inventory was slightly above one year ago and is the second highest June 1 inventory since tracking began in 1996. Marketings of fed cattle during May totaled 1.87 million head, 23% above 2020.

• Hay prices in the West are trending $30 or more per ton higher than one year ago, according to the The Hoyt Report.

Canada thistle is on the rebound.

• Nitrate toxicity in drought areas is a potential issue for livestock consuming cereal forages (wheat, barley, oats, triticale), brassicas, millet, sorghum species, and standing corn or corn harvested for hay.

June 22, 2021

• Although it’s never desired, sometimes drylotting cow-calf pairs during a drought is a necessary evil. Consider this nutritional advice from South Dakota State University when doing so.

• Drought is creating a forage shortage in North Dakota.

• Fall isn’t the only time that forages can be stockpiled for later use.

• Across the U.S., only 32% of pasture and rangeland is rated in Good to Excellent condition, according to the USDA’s June 14 Crop Progress report. Only 23% of that amount (6% overall) falls into the Excellent category.

• In contrast to range and pasture, 65% of the corn crop is rated in Good to Excellent condition.

June 15, 2021

Alfalfa hay exports from the U.S. during April totaled 245,922 metric tons (MT), according to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. The monthly total was down about 15% from April 2020. Year-to-date through April, alfalfa exports are running about 4% behind one year ago.

China once again led the way in purchasing U.S. alfalfa hay in April. It secured 111,908 MT, which was down from the 143,532 MT that were imported during March. Through April, alfalfa exports to China are running over 18% higher than in 2020.

• The United Arab Emirates (UAE) continues its rapid descent as a major purchaser of U.S. alfalfa. Its April total of 4,431 MT was the lowest since March 2015. Year-to-date, UAE purchases of U.S. alfalfa are down 63% from one year ago and are 83% behind the country’s 2019 buying pace.

• Penn State University offers some useful economic information on the value of bale preservative applicators.

• It was a year for white alfalfa.

June 8, 2021

• Don’t forget about the negative forage quality impacts of rained-on hay.

• Once again, it’s bermudagrass stem maggot season in the South while things are also setting up for a big potato leafhopper year in the North.

• The entry period has kicked off for samples being submitted to the World Forage Analysis Superbowl. The deadline to submit corn silage samples is July 15, while all other entries must be submitted by August 26.

• Meeting a cow’s nutritional requirements for the winter begins in the spring.

• Here are some quick tips on fertilizing hay and pastures.

June 1, 2021

• Iowa State University offers advice for controlling multiflora rose and Canada thistle.

• Here’s an interesting read on the history and development of the large round bale.

• The Keith Bolsen Silage Safety Foundation has reorganized into the Bolsen Safety Foundation with an updated website.

• A four-part, on-farm series focused on grazing management is being offered by Iowa State University Extension. Sessions are offered monthly from June through September.

• Here’s some tips on comparing and pricing forages from South Dakota State University Extension.