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Sauk Centre Hay Auction Feb 2 2012

by Dan Martens , U of M Extension Educator in Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties

This information is from the Sauk Centre MN hay auction held on Feb. 2, 2012. It is based on information provided by Stearns DHIA lab and the Mid-American Auction Company.

Feb 2 2012 SC Hay Auction.pdf .... A summer of all tested hay lots and bedding materials sold ... grouped by kind of hay, type of bale and 25 RFV points... cost per pound of dry matter and per RFV point are calculated.

History of Selected Lots 2011 2012.pdf ... A summary of auctions held this year: Medium Square Alfalfa 101-200 RFV divided in 25 RFV point groups, and medium square straw.

Graph SC Hay Auction 2001-2012.pdf ... A line graph of auctions from 2001 to 2012. Dotted lines indicate where hay was not sold in a group at a particular sale. Averages might not mean so much when 1 a few loads were sold.

Read more for a little discussion about alfalfa winter survival and other sources of market information.

The Winter and the Alfalfa Crop

Minnesota Extension Specialist Paul Peterson offered some discussion about winter weather related to alfalfa fields recently. He reported that the soil temperature at a one-half inch depth at the St. Paul Campus dropped to minus 13 on January 19 and minus one on January 20. The soil temperature is warmer as we go deeper. Crop residue cover and even 1 or 2 inches of snow cover will help to moderate the soil temperature.

Peterson says that agronomists historically figure alfalfa could begin to suffer some damage when the soil temperature in the crown region around the top 1-4 inches of the soil dropped under 15 degrees above zero. He thinks newer varieties might handle colder temperatures, but there are some limits. He also said that winter kill usually results from a combination of stress factors. Alternating freezing and thawing in the spring can be a problem.

NDSU reported that air temperatures were recorded at minus 19 on January 20 and the soil surface readings were at 8 degrees at their research plot.

Our audience at the Tour de Forage Workshop in Greenwald Feb. 8 was content to wait to see how spring unfolds. I'd suggest it's always good for alfalfa growers to have fields in mind that could be seeded for extra alfalfa acres in the spring if needed. This probably means staying away from herbicide with carryover that would affect alfalfa; and maintaining suitable soil pH for field are are regularly rotated to alfalfa.

 I've seen years where conditions through the winter seemed good and there were problems in the spring ... and years where the winter and spring seemed rough for alfalfa and things generally were OK. Fields that were stressed by wet, compacted or other issues during the last couple years may be more suspect.
If we need a plan B for some acres, there are a couple of good herbicide options that can help us get some pretty good seeding year yields with direct seeding alfalfa in the spring. 

More Hay Market Information

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Until later - Safety First

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