Alfalfa Update

Extension Field Agronomist Joel DeJong reports “I am not certain we have a good window of opportunity for harvesting alfalfa soon, but I hope so”. He was out in a couple of alfalfa fields near Le Mars yesterday (Wednesday), and the stems measured  25” tall, and were in the bud stage.  That would give it a RFV today of 176. In review, making haylage reduces the final RFV by 15 units, or making dry hay would cost about 25 RFV units.  It is generally recommended to harvest alfalfa at about 150 RFV for milking dairy herds and 125 RFV for heifers, stocker cattle and lactating beef cattle. Find more information about the PEAQ quality assessment model found here. While out there, he noticed low levels of alfalfa weevils feeding on the leaves. Scouting detail, thresholds, pictures and more can be found in this ISU ICM article titled “Alfalfa Weevils Active in Northern Iowa.”

Dean Dohle To Judge Cream of the Crop Dairy Show Saturday

The barns will be ready for cattle at noon on Friday, May 31 at the Cuming County Fairgrounds in West Point, NE. The show will begin at 10:30 am with showmanship on Saturday, June 1; followed by a judging contest and then conformation classes. All youth and adults across the Midwest are encouraged to exhibit. Entries will be accepted until 9:00 am the morning of the show.

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Dairy Webinar Archived Edition Available

The webinar covering dairy risk tools, including dairy revenue protect and dairy margin coverage programs was held on Friday, May 17 with 115 in attendance. The webinar was recorded and each presentation can be viewed at:

Part 1 with Dr. Marin Bosic:

Part 2 with Cassie Monger and Josh Newton:

Here are some “take-home” messages for each program.

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Iowa Milk Production Down One Percent From Year Ago

Milk production in Iowa during April 2019 totaled 436 million pounds, down 1 percent from the previous April according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during April, at 217,000 head, was the same as last month but down 3,000 from last year.
Monthly production per cow averaged 2,010 pounds, even with last April.

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Weekly Hay Auction Report

Iowa hay offerings were tighter this past week and prices were higher even though
the quality was lower.  Supreme alfalfa could only be found in small squares
and that supply, baled last year, was tight.  The supply of large squares was
limited, regardless of the quality of hay.  The end of this week in Iowa was
wet with the forecast for the rest of May also indicating wide spread rain and 
slightly below normal for temperatures.  While this weather pattern may encourage
the growth of pastures, it wrecks havoc in the harvesting of first cutting.
Rock Valley Hay Auction for Thursday, May 16, 2019
Receipts:  78 loads    Last Week: 80 loads    Last Year:  59 loads    

 Alfalfa:  Supreme:  Large Squares, 6 loads 205.00-250.00; Large Rounds, 
1 load 187.50. Premium: Large Rounds, 9 loads 170.00-182.50.  
Good:  Large Rounds, 8 loads 155.00-165.00.  
Fair: Large Squares, 1 load 147.50; Large Rounds, 8 loads 130.00-145.00.  

Grass:  Premium:  Large Squares, 1 load 207.50.  Good:  Large Rounds, 
18 loads 150.00-180.00; Large Squares, 1 load 152.50.  Fair: Large 
Rounds, 7 loads 130.00-147.50; Large Squares, 5 loads 135.00-140.00.  
Utility: Large Rounds, 2 loads 125.00.

Alfalfa / Grass Mix:  Good: Large Rounds, 2 loads 147.50-155.00.

Straw:  Large Squares, 2 loads 155.00-162.50; Large Rounds, 1 load 

Cornstalks:  Large Rounds, 7 load 40.00-47.50.

WASDE Predicts Milk Production and prices Up for 2020

The May 10 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate report  has milk production for 2020 forecast higher than 2019. Dairy herds are expected to begin to expand as producers respond to higher milk prices and lower feed costs. Milk per cow is expected to continue increasing, and the forecast also reflects the one extra day due to leap year.

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