Current Hay Market Report

Rock Valley Hay Auction for Thursday, Mar 23, 2017

Receipts:  72 loads    Last Week:  72 loads    Last Year:  74 loads

Compared to last week:   Alfalfa and grass hay sold at lower levels.  Interest and demand was light, with quality varying throughout the sale.

Alfalfa: Good:  Large Squares, 3 loads 95.00-112.50; Large Rounds, 2 loads 87.50-97.50. Fair:  Large Squares, 2 loads 75.00-80.00; Large Rounds, 15 loads 65.00-82.50.  Utility: Large Squares, 1 load 60.00; Large Rounds, 4 loads 55.00-60.00.

Grass:  Premium:  Small Squares, 1 load 140.00.  Good:  Large Squares, 2 loads 70.00-80.00; Large Rounds, 5 loads 80.00-90.00; Small Squares, 2 loads 82.50-85.00.  Fair:  Large Rounds, 14 loads 55.00-70.00.  Utility:  Large Rounds, 6 loads 45.00-50.00.

Alfalfa/Grass Mix:  Good:  Large Squares, 2 loads 75.00-82.50; Large Rounds, 1 loads 77.50. Fair:  Large Squares, 1 load 65.00.

Wheat Straw:  Large Squares, 2 loads 50.00-55.00.  Large Rounds, 2 loads 70.00-72.50.

Oat Straw:  Large Rounds, 2 load 40.00.

Cornstalks:  Large Rounds, 5 loads 30.00-35.00.

New Test Detects Early Stage of Johne’s in Cattle

Researchers at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, have identified a more sensitive test for detecting the early stages of Johne’s (paratuberculosis), a fatal disease that plagues dairy herds and causes an estimated annual loss of up to $250 million to the US dairy industry.

Current methods of testing for the presence of the bacteria that cause the disease often misdiagnose animals in the early stages of the disease, which has no cure. Infected animals produce less milk, have fertility problems, and must be culled. In the U.S. it is estimated that 20 percent of dairy herds and 8 percent of the beef herds contain at least one animal infected with the disease, and that 68 percent of farms are contaminated with the pathogen that causes paratuberculosis.

Transmission occurs by ingestion of manure-contaminated food and pastures or by colostrum passed from an infected dam to a calf. The disease usually manifests two to three years after the initial infection, but in some cases, can take up to 10 years before it becomes apparent. During this time, infected animals shed the bacteria, putting the health of the entire herd at risk.

Currently, detection of the pathogen, such as fecal culture test, is the gold standard for diagnosing animals that are shedding the bacteria and for characterizing the stage of the disease, especially in advanced stages.

However, the research, published in Nature’s Scientific Reports, found that the fecal test could not reliably predict persistent infections or early stages. Detection of diseased animals in the subclinical stage of infection is difficult because these animals typically excrete the bacteria in low numbers and have not yet developed antibodies to the bacteria that could be detected.

“Shedding and potential transmission could occur well before a fecal test yields positive results, so what’s needed are other disease predictors, especially at the early stages of infection,” said lead author Gesham Magombedze, who conducted the research while at postdoctoral fellow at NIMBioS. Magombedze is now an assistant professor and an assistant investigator at the Baylor Research Institute in Dallas, Texas.

Using a suite of mathematical models and statistical simulations, the researchers determined that a test based on a type of immune cells called macrophages produces more reliable diagnoses.

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Rock Valley Hay Auction Report for Mar. 20

Rock Valley Hay Auction for Monday, Mar 20, 2017

Receipts:  26 loads    Last Week:  23 loads    Year Ago:   30 Loads

Compared to last week:  Light offerings, with mostly steady market.

Alfalfa:  Good:  Large Squares, 1 load 95.00; Large Rounds, 8 loads 80.00-92.50.

Fair:  Large Squares, 2 loads 70.00-75.00; Large Rounds, 3 loads 70.00-77.50.  Utility:

Large Rounds, 1 load 60.00.

Grass:  Fair:  Large Rounds, 6 loads 72.50-80.00.

Alfalfa/Grass:  Good:  Large Squares, 2 loads 87.50.  Utility:  Large Rounds, 1 load 60.00.

Straw:  Large Rounds, 2 loads 60.00.

Corn Stalks:  Large Rounds, 1 load 40.00.

Iowa Milk Production up 1 Percent in February According to USDA/NASS Report

While milk production in the USA totaled 16.7 billion pounds or an increase of 2.3 percent above last year when adjusted for the extra day of the leap year, Iowa production stood at 399 million pounds up from 395 million pounds in February 2016.

The report showed February milk cow numbers in Iowa at 216,000, up from 211,000 one year ago. However, milk per cow was down from 1,870 pounds in February 2016 to 1,845 this year. Nationally the average was 1,782 pounds in February, down 33 pounds from the same time in 2016.

The complete report can be found at:


Rock Valley Hay Auction Report

Rock Valley Hay Auction Report for Monday, Mar 13, 2017

Receipts:  23 loads    Last Week:  29 loads    Year Ago:   94 Loads

Compared to last week:  Market continues to sell at weaker prices levels, with light buyer interest.   Blizzard like conditions on Sunday brought 3-4 inches of snow with high winds to the area.

Alfalfa:  Fair:  Large Squares, 1 load 80.00; Large Rounds, 2 loads 75.00.  Utility:  Large Squares, 3 loads 37.50-55.00; Large Rounds, 7 loads 57.50-67.50.

Grass:  Good:  Small Squares, 1 load 90.00. Utility:  Large Rounds, 3 loads 40.00-60.00.

Straw:  Large Rounds, 4 loads 60.00-72.50.

Corn Stalks:  Large Rounds, 2 loads 37.50-45.00.

Cover Crop Caravan to Visit Sioux County on May 30

Practical Farmers of Iowa has planned a series of spring field days focused on cover crop issues in grazing and row crop systems. Farmers and community members are invited to see cover crops in action on a farm, and learn about cover crop basics as well as practices used to maximize the financial return from cover crops.

All field days in the series run from noon to 3 p.m., and are free and open to everyone. Each field day starts with a complimentary lunch. RSVPs are requested for the meal. Please contact Alisha Bower at (515) 232-5661 or ALISHA@PRACTICALFARMERS.ORG.

The series is called “Cover Crop Caravan” because many events include stops at multiple farms and locations. Specific details about each field day will be announced closer to the date. Host details and locations – along with a map of events – are also available at Events in the series include “Grazing Cover Crops” on May 30 at the Matt Schuiteman farm located at 3357 400th St., Sioux Center Sioux Center.

This event will showcase the value of integrating cover crops and livestock. Attendees will see cattle grazing cover crop fields, and learn about grazing management, nutrition from cover crop forage, contract grazing agreements and managing herbicide residues for grazing. Schuiteman will cover grazing rye and Hairy Vetch, baling rye, growing cover crops for seed and water quality

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2017 spring cover crop field days are supported by Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship; Iowa State University Extension; Land Stewardship Project; Natural Resources Conservation Service; Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota; The Pasture Project; and Unilever.

Plan to Scout Forage Stands for Winter Survival

A warm weather pattern in late February caused soil temperatures across most of Iowa to rise above 40 degrees F.  ISUEO AGRONOMIST BRIAN LANG NOTES THAT THIS is was likely warm enough long enough for alfalfa and some forage grasses (most ryegrass varieties and the less winterhardy orchardgrass and tall fescue varieties) to break dormancy.  However, when low temperatures recur, alfalfa plants can reharden to a degree, but only to the extent that it still has stored carbohydrates available. Winter injury occurs either with enough warm-cold cycles to use up the carbohydrates, or if the temperature drops so rapidly that the plant does not have time to sufficiently reharden.

When dormant, alfalfa crown tissue can tolerate soil temperatures down to about 5 to 10 degrees F to where tissue damage could then begin to occur.  After breaking dormancy, tissue damage could theoretically start to occur at about 30 degrees F with some plants, but more likely not until soil temperatures get down into the mid-20’s degree F for alfalfa crown tissue.  If shoot development occurred with a break in dormancy, and the current air temperatures are cold enough to freeze these shoots, the plant can initiate new shoots as long as sufficient carbohydrates are available.  As carbohydrates are depleted, tissue damage will occur.  If too much damage occurs before the plant can photosynthesize and produce carbohydrates, the plant will not recover.

Seasonal alfalfa management influences how well plants store carbohydrates entering into the winter.  These factors include variety selection (winter survival index, disease resistance, fall dormancy level), age of stand, soil fertility, pest management, soil drainage, soil moisture in fall (higher soil moisture in fall tends to reduce alfalfa hardiness for the winter), last year’s cutting schedule intensity (how much stress was put on the stand), was there a late fall cut or not, and if cut late was there fall stubble left or not.  These are all issues dealing with stress management and how healthy the stand enters into the winter, thus winter injury conditions between and within fields can vary considerable.

The current cold front may cause some wide-scale problems with alfalfa, ryegrass, and the less winterhardy varieties of orchardgrass and tall fescue, but we need to take a wait-and-see approach, and scout fields.  Scout by digging plants starting about a week after the cold front passes.  This will provide some time for the crown tissue to start showing it’s true nature… firm tissue is good, soft tissue is not.  If this current weather causes tissue damage, there should not be any visual tissue discoloration yet (first off-yellow, then tan in color) since it’s too soon after the freeze damage, so judge by tissue firmness not tissue color.  If by chance the crown tissue is discolored and soft to mushy, damage to the plants likely occurred weeks ago.  If crown tissue is dead and drying out, damage to the plants occurred at least a month ago.  Most plants in older stands will also exhibit some dark colored crown rot in the center of the crown, which is normal.  Ignore this and evaluate the white tissue surrounding this area.  Check the illustrations in the resource A3620 mentioned below to assist in your assessment of the stand.

Scouting and stand assessment could end up being completely obvious with nothing greening up.  However, also be aware that it is possible for winter-injured alfalfa to initially green-up to some degree with its remaining stored carbohydrates to the extent of a few inches of shoot development, even though the crown tissue is too severely damaged for the plant to survive.  Frankly, at this time it’s too pessimistic to discuss replant options.  Let’s first scout the fields.  But listed below are resources to assist with plans to conduct alfalfa stand assessments, as well as to plan your livestock forage inventory and considerations for forage replant options, if it comes to that.

Rock Valley Hay Report for Mar. 11

Rock Valley Hay Auction for Thursday, Mar 11, 2017

Receipts:  91 loads    Last Week:  93 loads    Last Year:  94 loads

Compared to last week:   All classes sold lower, corn stalks higher.  Lower quality hay overall this week with light demand.  All sales FOB Rock Valley, Iowa, vicinity.

Alfalfa: Good:  Small Squares, 1 load 120.00; Large Rounds and Squares, 5 loads 80.00-92.50.  Fair:  Large Rounds and Squares, 15 loads 70.00-80.00.  Utility:  Large Rounds and Squares, 26 loads 60.00-70.00, 3 loads very poor 20.00-47.50.

Grass:  Premium:  Large Rounds and Squares, 3 loads 100.00-122.50; Small Squares, 1 load 125.00.  Good:  Large Rounds, 6 loads 65.00-80.00.

Fair:  Large Rounds, 10 loads 57.50-65.00.  Utility:  Large Rounds, 9 loads 35.00-52.50.

Alfalfa/Grass Mix:  Fair:  Large Rounds and Squares, 2 loads 60.00- 62.50; Small Squares, 1 load 70.00.

Straw:  Large Rounds, 2 loads 60.00-65.00

Cornstalks:  Large Rounds, 7 loads 35.00-62.50, mostly 35.00-47.50.

Wasde Released Today

The current World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) were released today.

The 2017 milk production forecast is raised as milk cow numbers are expected to increase more rapidly. However, growth in milk per cow is reduced on January data. Dairy exports on a fat basis for 2017 are unchanged, while skim-solids basis exports are lowered on expected strong competition in international skim milk powder markets.

Both fat basis and skim-solids basis imports forecasts are unchanged. Skim-solids basis ending stocks are forecast higher for 2017 on higher production of dairy products and weaker exports.

Fat-basis ending stocks are unchanged. Historical milk production and stock estimates reflect recently released revisions. The cheese price forecast for 2017 is reduced as stocks of cheese are high and are expected to pressure prices. The butter price forecast is raised on continued demand strength. The nonfat dry milk price is forecast lower on expectations of slower export growth due to increased competition from global competitors. The whey price forecast is raised reflecting recent market strength.

The Class III price is raised as the higher whey price more than outweighs the reduced cheese price. The Class IV price forecast is lowered, reflecting a weaker nonfat dry milk price which more than offsets a higher forecast butter price.

The all milk price for 2017 is forecast at $17.80 to $18.40 per cwt.

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