Current USDA Hay Market Prices

Picture1Below are examples of grass prices being paid FOB barn/stack (except for those noted as delivered, which is indicated by a “d” in the table below) for selected states at the end of the day on Friday, August 23. These prices came from USDA and were summarized in E-hay weekly . Large ranges for a particular grade and state are often indicative of location and/or bale size. Subscribe free to E-hay weekly to receive these hay reports on a regular basis  (plus Alfalfa hay prices) and other articles. ~ Hay and Forage Grower


Publication of the Month: Establishing Forage Crops(AGR-64)

Successful livestock production depends on a forage program that supplies large quantities of quality, homegrown feed. Such forage programs do not develop by chance but are the result of careful planning and detailed attention to establishment, production, and utilization of forage crops. Establishment of a good stand is a first and important step in a successful forage program. The costs of stand establishment are equal to approximately 1 to 2 tons of production. It is important that everything possible is done to ensure success, because a stand failure can nearly double these costs and result in a loss of forage production. In addition, a stand failure ex-poses soils to more erosion and the loss of valuable topsoil and nutrients. This publication covers the steps vital to the establishment and maintenance of good forage stands. Find this and other forage publications on the UK Forage website and click “Publications”.


Watch for Fall Army Worm in Pastures

Fall armyworm is a recurring pest of pastures, and there have been several outbreaks in pastures the past few years. As we move into autumn, risk of fall armyworm moving into Kentucky from southern areas increases. Growers managing pastures should begin watching for early stages of fall armyworm. Pay particular attention to areas where the grass may seem to thin-out or turn brown. Fall armyworm damage may resemble drought stress. Droughty conditions, such as has occurred in August, are favorable for fall armyworm.

Fall armyworm doesn’t survive freezes in winter in Kentucky and must recolonize each year from southern areas in Florida and southern Texas.  While there can be 3 or 4 generations in the South, Kentucky typically has only one or two generations. There have been some reports of increasing fall armyworm numbers in states to our south this summer.

There are two strains of fall armyworm, corn strain and rice strain, with important differences in feeding. The corn strain feeds most commonly on corn, sorghum, and cotton. The rice strain prefers rice, alfalfa, grasses in pastures, millet, and vegetables. Unfortunately, these strains are indistinguishable based on appearance.

Scouting: Catching fall armyworm in its early stages greatly reduces damage to pastures and hay. While damage by fall armyworm may appear to happen overnight, feeding by young stages is minimal compared to losses by 5th and 6th instar larvae. Even though time to reach the 5th instar is similar to the time spent as a 5th and 6th instar, these larger larvae consume 10 or more times the amount of food consumed by young stages. As larvae may hide during the hottest part of the day, the best time to scout for fall armyworm in pastures is into late morning or in late afternoon. A sweep net can be used to locate early infestations of fall armyworm. If you find fall armyworm, the next step would be to count the number per square foot. If more than two to three per square foot are found, they should be controlled with an insecticide or the field should be cut. ~ Dr. Ric Bessin, from Kentucky Pest News


Upcoming Events

September 5 – W. KY Equine Field Day, Princeton, KY |

September 10-11 – Fall Grazing School, Versailles, KY |

September 26 – Beef Bash, Versailles, KY |

October 29-30 – Heart of America Grazing Conference, Burlington, KY – Keynote Speaker: Jim Gerrish |

October 31 – Western KY Grazing Conference, Hopkinsville, KY |

November 1 – Pasture Walk with Jim Gerrish, LaCenter, KY |

January 5-8 – AFGC Annual Conference, Greenville, NC |

March 20 – Novel Tall Fescue Workshop, Lexington, KY |


Reclaiming Rundown Farms – Western KY Summer Forage Tour

Join us August 6th for the Western KY Summer Forage Tour in Ohio County, KY. Tour topics include restoring pasture productivity, integrated weed management, watering systems, summer annuals, crabgrass as forage, and much more.  The Daugherty’s farm is in various stages of renovation. Participants will see improvements that have been made, improvements that are being implemented, and learn about future plans. The tour will feature frank and open discussions on various approaches to restoring the productivity of neglected farms. Discussion and questions will be highly encouraged!  Register online at: ~ Rehanon Pampell


Oats for Fall Pasture or Hay

Fall is just around the corner.  Could you use some extra pasture or hay in late September and October?  Oats might be your answer.

Oats may be one of our most under-used fall forages.  That’s right.  Plain old dull oats.  It grows fast, thrives under cool fall conditions, has excellent feed value, and can produce over 2 tons of hay or pasture yet this year.  Plus, it dies out over winter, so it protects soil without causing planting problems next spring.

To plant oats, drill about 3 bushels per acre in early August to early Sept for maximum yield potential. Planting after Labor Day is not recommended due to a short growing season.  A fully prepared seedbed is usually best, but you can plant oats directly into wheat stubble or other crop residues if weeds are killed ahead of planting.  Even flying oats onto corn or bean fields severely damaged by weather or to be chopped early for silage can work, although rye tends to work better for flown on seed.  Avoid fields with herbicide carryover, and topdress 50 pounds of nitrogen per acre unless the previous crop was heavily fertilized.

With good moisture, oats will be ready to graze about 6 to 8 weeks after emergence.   Calves and yearlings can gain over two pounds per day.  Be careful to avoid grass tetany on lush oat pasture; ask your veterinarian if you should supplement with magnesium.  Also, don’t suddenly turn livestock out on oat pasture if they have been grazing short or dry pastures.  Sudden respiratory problems can occur.

For hay, cut oats soon after plants begin to dry out following a killing freeze, or cut earlier if plants reach a desirable growth stage.  Oats can accumulate nitrates, so test hay before feeding.

If you have good soil moisture, give fall oats a try.  Some of your best forage growth may still be ahead of you. ~ Bruce Anderson