Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Producers begin to discuss new crop prices

Spring is a busy here in the N.A.M.A. Office.  Work has begun on putting together the 2014/2015 Producer/Member Directory, we are busy preparing to send out exhibitor contracts for the 2014 Mid-America Forage Expo that will be held December 2nd and 3rd in Norfolk and several other projects are in the works. 

According to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Nebraska Field Office, hay and forage supplies rated 11 percent very short or short, 85 adequate, and 4 surplus.

Producers across the State have noted some spotty winter kill in alfalfa stands due to the cold dry winter we had.  With April and August being the best time for planting alfalfa, producers are scrambling to get seeding done. 
Insects are another issue producers are likely going to be dealing with all season this year.  Despite the temptation to concentrate on row crop activities now, if you’re growing high quality alfalfa hay, take time to monitor fields for weevil and army worms.  Insect feeding can cause severe yield and quality losses in first cutting alfalfa.  Many times the best management practice for controlling weevil damage is early cutting.

Price inquiry for new crop is beginning to be a hot topic.  Producers are starting to work with numbers as livestock producers question where prices will start.  At this time new crop prices are averaging from $1.20 to 1.40 per Relative Feed Value point as a base, for dairy quality large and medium squares.  That translates to alfalfa with a Relative Feed Value of 170 being priced from approximately $200 to 240 per ton at the stack.  That actually is not far off of the current pricing on old crop dairy hay.