Dairy Producer Considerations When Dealing with High Grain Prices
by David R. Balbian, CCE Area Dairy Management Specialist
We have been here before. Back in mid-July of 2012, corn got up over $8.00/bu @ the Chicago Board of trade. As I write this corn is approaching $7.00/bu. Soybeans got up to the mid $17/bu. range in late August of 2012. Again, as I write this soybeans are in the mid-$15 range. Your cows do not care what these prices are. Major knee jerk cutbacks on grain feeding that shorts the cows on their nutritional requirements will only make a bad situation worse. Saving $1.00 on grain and losing $1.50 or $2.00 is bad business. The long-term impacts on reproduction will have lingering effects. Low production cannot be turned around until a new lactation begins. So, what to do? Although they will not be possible for everyone to implement, here are some tips and ideas to consider:
- If you have your own corn grain or HMSC you are feeling good right now.
- Harvest cover crops for feed in the very early boot stage. Wide swath mowing for quick drying and harvest between 35% to 40% dry matter will give you better results and retain nutrients. Check out Winter Forage: Windrow Compost vs. Photosynthetic Drying from Advanced Ag Systems' regarding wide swath mowing & quick drying. A link to the following article by Ralph Ward of Cumberland Valley Lab provides additional helpful details on the benefits of the proper dry matter: Avoid Fermentation Failure in Spring Silage
- Timely harvest your first cutting & subsequent cuttings. Be on the lookout for our team's First Cutting Forage Quality data from Dr. Erik Smith every Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning. We are monitoring around 60 fields in our region. You will see targeted harvest dates for dairy quality feed.
- Applying nitrogen to grasses can up crude protein levels (and yield). It may already be a bit late for some first cutting fields, but applications right after first cutting can really boost second cut yields and crude protein levels (reducing the need to purchase grain protein).
- BMR Corn Silage could be more attractive now. Assess your own situation and consider it this year.
- It's a long ways off, but if high corn grain prices persist high chopping corn silage this fall is something to consider if you have plenty of inventory.
- Moving to a high corn silage diet if you have the inventory can reduce corn grain needs and may allow you to utilize some low cost protein such as feed grade urea. Work with your nutritionist to evaluate this option.
- Look for & reduce feed shrink. This is spilled, wasted or spoiled feed. You can no longer afford excessive shrink.
- Strategic group cows so you are not overfeeding late lactation cows.
- Look around at various protein sources. Soybean meal is not the only game in town.
- Be sure you are getting all you can out of the corn grain you are feeding. Grind it finer. Coarse ground corn is more likely to pass undigested.
We Want to Collect Your Cereal Leaf Beetle Larvae!
Many of you have had issues with cereal leaf beetle in small grains. In the late 1960s and 1970s, USDA released a parasitoid the controlled cereal leaf beetle at very high levels. It was established and did a good job on control for many decades. In some parts of NYS there are very low levels of these parasitoids. We are looking to reestablish them in those areas. In 2020 NYS IPM (Jaime Cummings) conducted a survey on the percent parasitism of cereal leaf beetle larvae in several areas of the state.
Most areas of the state are very low. We are looking to conduct the same survey in 2021 as well as continuing to develop a parasitoid insectary refuge on the Cornell Farm in Aurora. This can help us reestablish the parasitoid in areas of the state that might need them. If you have cereal leaf beetle in your fields please let Erik Smith (email@example.com) or Ken Wise (firstname.lastname@example.org) know and we can come and collect them. We will also let you know the rates of parasitism of the beetles in your fields.
Farmland Protection Implementation Grants Program$52.5 MILLION AVAILABLE TO PROTECT NEW YORK FARMLAND State Dedicates Highest Level of Funding Ever to Protect Valuable and At-Risk Farmland
Each of New York's 10 Regions Will Be Allocated $5 Million for Conservation Easement Projects Eligibility Opportunities Expanded to Agroforestry, Equine, and Wine Sectors
Round 18 FPIG continues New York State's commitment to provide financial assistance to locally led farmland protection efforts. The Farmland Protection Implementation Grants Program
provides financial assistance to counties, municipalities, soil and water conservation districts, and land trusts to enable them to implement farmland protection activities consistent with local agricultural and farmland protection plans. The most frequently funded activity is the purchase of agricultural conservation easements on individual farms. However, the program may also award funding to enable other implementation activities, such as amendments to local laws affecting agriculture, option agreements, and covering the transaction costs of donated agricultural conservation easements.
All farmland protection project applications must be submitted electronically through the New York State Grants Gateway. More information regarding the Grants Gateway can be found here
Municipalities, counties, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and land trusts are eligible to apply for grants of up to $2 million each to help offset the costs of individual conservation easement projects that protect viable agricultural land from being converted to non-agricultural use.
Eligibility criteria for the program have been adjusted to include the agroforestry, equine, and wine sectors, reflecting New York's diverse agricultural industry. In addition, other closely aligned State goals have been integrated into the eligibility criteria to allow multiple objectives for certain projects, including food security, climate resiliency, and source water protection. Another first for the program, an incentive payment is now available to participating landowners whose project specifically incorporates climate resiliency or source water protection. Soil health assessments are also now an eligible project cost.
There is no application deadline and applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until available funds have been awarded to eligible projects.
This funding opportunity continues the state's commitment to provide financial and technical assistance for farmland protection on a predictable two-year cycle and builds on the recent additions of the successful FPIG Dairy Transitions Farmland Protection Initiative and the FPIG Farm Operations in Transition Farmland Protection Initiative.