June 28, 2016

· Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter in the U.S. (feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head) totaled 10.8 million head on June 1, according to USDA’s Cattle on Feed report released last Friday. The inventory was 2 percent above June 1, 2015. Placements in feedlots during May totaled 1.88 million head, 10 percent above 2015.

· As an update to this article, Nebraska and Texas A&M have now made their 2016 Custom Rate Guides available online.

· Take advantage of low potash prices. According to last week’s Illinois Production Cost Report, the average price of retail potash in that state is down to $335 per ton. That converts to just 28 cents per unit of potassium (as K2O). Only a few years ago, that same metric was near 70 cents.

· Each dry matter ton of alfalfa harvested removes about 50 to 55 pounds of equivalent K2O.

· W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “Now, when a farmer can grow a plant like alfalfa, pound for pound, it is worth as much to produce milk as bran, or that 11 pounds of it are the equivalent of 8 pounds of mixed grain; it is a proposition that ought to appeal to the brains of every farmer in the United States.”

June 21, 2016

· According to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, May sales of two-wheel drive, 100-plus horsepower tractors in the U.S. declined 3.5 percent, with year-to-date sales down 24.3 percent. Four-wheel drive tractors dropped 26.1 percent year-over-year and declined 30.6 percent for year-to-date sales.

· La Crosse Seed is the new and exclusive owner of the entire family of brands of Cover Crop Solutions, including Tillage Radish, Tillage RootMax, Tillage Sunn, as well as the entire lineup of cover crop mixes.

· El Niño is dead and gone, according to just about everyone. Now the focus falls to a potential La Niña. In the U.S., a La Niña generally brings drier than normal conditions to the Southwest, Rockies, and Southern Plains. Enhanced rainfall falls in the Pacific Northwest and to a lesser extent over the Ohio Valley, as well as below normal temperatures. More problematic is the potential uptick in Atlantic hurricanes. Stay tuned.

· Happy National Forage Week.

· W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “If you are determined to let a cow gallop over five acres of land during the summer to get a living, then you need to have very cheap land for her racetrack.”

June 14, 2016

· According to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, alfalfa hay exports for April totaled 192,143 metric tons (MT). China again led the way by purchasing 82,283 MT, which was more than double the amount of second place Japan (38,344 MT). China’s total was about 8,500 MT more than March but 13,000 MT less than April 2015.

· Last call to gear up for the June 19 start of National Forage Week. Check out the promotional video here.

· FGI just recently moved their Nampa, Idaho, seed processing and bagging operation across town to a new and expanded facility.

· General Mills has announced a strategic sourcing partnership with Organic Valley that will help about 20 dairy farms add around 3,000 acres to organic dairy production over the next three years.

· W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “Farmers are not saving money by sowing poor seed in anything. When will that idea become dominant in their minds?”

June 7, 2016

· Forage Genetics International (FGI) and Monsanto announced that FGI has acquired all of the commercial rights from the companies’ existing alfalfa research collaboration. Further, Monsanto has licensed to FGI certain intellectual property relating to its alfalfa traits and technology.

· As of May 29, the USDA Crop Progress report indicated 13 percent of the U.S. pasture and rangeland was in Excellent condition with 53 percent rated Good. This was similar to the condition ratings one year ago at the same point in time.

· In the same report, it’s estimated that 98 percent of the corn is planted and nearly 90 percent has emerged. Both numbers are slightly ahead of the past five-year average.

· Registration is now open for the American Forage and Grassland Council’s New Zealand fall tour from October 23 to November 4. More details here.

· W.D. Hoard said it over 100 years ago: “The best and most profitable market for grain, hay, and coarse forage that a farmer can find is a good cow. Not only is the return, when transformed into cow products, the highest, but the reflex effect on the producing power of the farm is very great.”