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Is hay starting a comeback?


By Jerrold Tesmer

Mon, Apr 23rd, 2012
Posted in All Agriculture

In all the excitement about the large acreages of corn in the Prospective Planting Report on March 30, a small item that is important to Southeast Minnesota may have been largely ignored. Producers intend to harvest 57.3 million acres of all hay in 2012, up three percent from last year’s record low. If realized, this will be the second smallest harvested area on record.

Producers in several States – Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania – intend to harvest record low acreages. Producers in Illinois expect to harvest a record-tying low acreage.

Generally, all hay harvested acreage east of the Mississippi River is expected to decrease in 2012. Conversely, producers from the Great Plains westward intend to harvest more hay this season following the unusually dry conditions that limited hay production in 2011.

As the chart below shows, Minnesota and Wisconsin both project increases in acres of hay.

About the time I saw the projected hay production numbers, I stumbled across a chart of Historic Crop Enterprise Profits pulled together by Extension Educator David Bau from the SW Farm Business Management Association. This was profit per acre for the years 2004-2010. We know that corn and soybeans have been on an unprecedented profitability run for the last seven years, but they are not always the top two for profit per acre.

For 2004-2010, corn silage was ranked number one at $181.46; alfalfa hay number two at $156.03; corn number three at $141.79; and soybeans number four at $97.01. There were three years in seven that corn was valued higher than corn silage; and four years in seven where alfalfa hay was higher value than corn. Of these four principle crops, soybeans always came in fourth.

I think this tells me that if dairy and beef would have a seven year run of profits we’d see the trend to more corn and soybeans reverse. Profitable livestock enterprises are good for hay production. Hay production is good for soil conservation in Southeast Minnesota.

Early season pasture thistle control

By Jerrold Tesmer

Mon, Mar 26th, 2012
Posted in All Agriculture

When the grass started greening up, it also meant other less welcome plants will soon be appearing. Normally, early May is excellent for early season pasture weed control, but if this weather trend continues, consider moving the timing up. Plants th ..... 
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Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) workshop

By Jerrold Tesmer

Mon, Mar 19th, 2012
Posted in All Agriculture

If you are interested in developing a Food Safety Plan for your farm, a Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) workshop will be held on Thursday, April 5 from 1-6 pm at the Winona County Office Building in Winona, Minnesota. The cost of the workshop is ..... 
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As possible drought looms, Commissioners Rothman and Frederickson urge farmers to review crop insurance needs

Mon, Feb 27th, 2012
Posted in All Agriculture

ST. PAUL, MN – In light of current drought conditions, Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson and Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman today issued a consumer alert encouraging Minnesota farmers to consider purchasing crop insurance ahead of thi ..... 
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Minnesota seeks lookouts for invasive pests

By Jerrold Tesmer

Mon, Feb 20th, 2012
Posted in All Agriculture

With the recent large Emerald Ash Borer infestation on I-90, the two large oriental bittersweet infestations in Red Wing and Winona, and the value of our black walnuts, there should be considerable interest in becoming Forest Pest First Detectors. T ..... 
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Fertilizing grass pastures

By Jerrold Tesmer

Mon, Feb 13th, 2012
Posted in All Agriculture

Are you looking for ways to get more out of your pasture? Have you ever soil tested your pasture? Do you treat your pasture like a valuable crop? As with other crops, adequate fertilizer is needed for optimal economic production. This could mean ..... 
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Farm family recognition nominations

Fri, Jan 27th, 2012
Posted in Agriculture

The Fillmore County Extension Committee is asking your help in identifying potential farm families for recognition by the University of Minnesota. The Farm Family Recognition Program has existed for over two decades and honors farm families from thr ..... 
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Cow/Calf Days

Fri, Jan 27th, 2012
Posted in Agriculture

The 2012 Minnesota Beef Cow/Calf Day will be held Thursday, February 9 at America's Best Value Inn in Rochester from 5:30 to 9:30 pm. The topics for the evening's agenda are as follows.

"Pasture and Forage Management for Optimal Production." ..... 
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Regional Forage Workshop

Fri, Jan 20th, 2012
Posted in Agriculture

"Making Great Silage" and "Silage Additive - When Should You Use Them" will be topics of featured speaker Richard Muck, USDA Dairy Forage Research Center, Madison Wisconsin at the 2012 Tour de Forage to be held Monday, February 6, in Rochester at th ..... 
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