2018 Outlook: Regional Economics to Influence Hay Prices Most

By: Anna-Lisa Laca, for Drovers

For many livestock species, alfalfa is a critical component of the diet. As we look to 2018, national hay prices aren’t expected to soar, but look for regional economics to play a heavy role in the price you pay at the farm gate.

Rising highway costs are making the expense of delivering hay more of a consideration, which is resulting in very regionalized hay prices, according to Dan Undersander, a member of the University of Wisconsin Madison forage team. The latest Agricultural Prices Report from USDA shows the national average price for alfalfa was $152 per ton in October. While it’s important to note that price is representative of all quality levels, let’s compare it to the average price in several states: $185/ton in California, $205/ton in Kentucky, $219/ ton in New York and $215/ton in Tennessee. Continue reading

Dodder in Western Ohio

By Mark Loux, Ohio State University Extension herbicide specialist

We have had reports of dodder in some red clover fields. Dodder is a parasitic plant without any leaves or chlorophyll to produce its own energy. It lives by attaching to a host with small appendages (called ‘haustoria”), and extracting the host plant’s carbohydrates. The stems are yellow-orange, stringlike, twining, smooth and branching to form dense masses in infested fields. Although neither toxic nor unpalatable to some livestock, dodder can weaken host plants enough to reduce yield, quality, and stand. If infestations are severe enough, dodder may kill host plants. Continue reading