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May 7 Hay Auction.... AND Alfalfa Harvest Alert Info thru May 20

By Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties,, 320-968-5077 if a local call to Foley or 1-800-964-4929

I am posting information and links to documents with data from

1. May 7 2015 Sauk Centre Hay Auction

2. May 18-19 Alfalfa Harvest Alert Scissors Cut Data

1. May 7, 2015 Summary - All loads sold, grouped and averaged – lots of hay.

2. History of Selected Lots - averaged for recent years, and each sale so far this year.

3. Graph 2001 to 2015- Medium Square Groups from RFV 101-200, Grass Hay 5-9% Protein, Straw – QUITE AN INCLINE after the last auction. The “red line” is for the 2014-15 auction season.

4. May 1 Hay Stocks Report. Total hay stocks are not sorted for grass and alfalfa. That would be useful. I’ve added a table to this that shows US alfalfa production and May 1 Stocks for each of the last 10 years

5. Alfalfa Field Data – From Harvest Alert Scissors Cut information through May 19.


Some fields have moved forward from Winter Injury and some are declining still. Slicing roots on some shorter plants with fewer roots might show more serious browning throughout the root or crown. Plants from a late summer seeding might not be producing a lot of stems yet, and slicing roots might show healthy color.

Some decisions could be made yet based on first cutting experiences. A core question seems to be, “What kind of feed do you need and what can you make use of – related to ration strategies and feed inventories?” I did see an NDSU discussion about stem counts, showing that 20 HEALTHY stems per square foot could represent plants that could produce 3 ton per acre through the season with adequate moisture.

The first page shows the most recent information from each farm that we have samples back from so far; and some notes about how we might look at this information.

The next couple pages show all results from each individual farm. You will see that the Carver Cooperators took their first samples on May 11. Three sample days here might start to show a trend that gives more confidence in the numbers.

Past experiences of the farmer, nutrition feed reps, and agronomy advisors are very significant. Feed needs and strategies can be different from farm to farm.

We can note in this information that some fields are pushing toward 22 to 24 inches tall and starting to show buds. At this point, people might be watching the weather and field conditions more closely to consider harvest plans. Where the crop is 15 to 20 inches, a few warm sunny days cold push these field along rapidly.

Lisa Behnken, Rochester Regional Extension Educator, noted on May 11, that some fields in the Rochester area could be ready for harvest sometime this week. As we move north through the state, some could be ready next week, and some maybe not until the week after. Again weather and soil conditions often drive first crop harvest decisions as much or more than the condition of the crop.

Central MN Forage Council board member Greg Lefebvre noted alfalfa being cut near Zumbrota and Plainview on May 19.

Farm Business Management Instructor Brad Burklund note a healthy stand of alfalfa being cut near St. Joseph on May 20

Please note cooperators and sponsors listed in this report, and tell them and cooperating farmers, “Thanks for your efforts with this.”

Please let me know if something looks to be in error.

Do plan for a SAFE hay harvest.

Check other Minnesota Crop News articles that might be useful to you.

"Weekly Hay Market Demand and Price Report for the Upper Midwest" that is put together by Ken Barnett, UW Extension.

USDA Hay Market Reports - "Click on Livestock, Poultry and Grain Market News", then look for Hay.
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