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Livestock Forage Disaster Program: Contact Your FSA Office

The 2014 Farm Bill makes the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) a permanent program and retroactive to October 1, 2011.  The LFP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers who have suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire. USDA Farm Services Agency has released a new fact sheet on the Livestock Forage Disaster Program to explain basic eligibility for the program. Producers can determine whether they live in an eligible county at the USDA Farm Services Agency website. The national Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska has also developed an online LFP eligibility tool to assist producers in determining whether they are eligible for the program. Producers are encouraged to contact their local Wisconsin USDA Farm Services Agency office for additional information.

USDA Ag Marketing Service Adds Monthly National Grass Fed Beef Market Report

In September, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service initiated a monthly national grass fed beef market report. The report is housed in the USDA Market News for Beef section under the ‘monthly’ reports listing. This is the first report of its kind, filling a significant data gap for the industry and increasing transparency in the marketplace.

For almost a century, USDA Market News has provided farmers, ranchers and businesses with market and pricing information.   With the new market report and better access to information, USDA is helping farmers and ranchers who are considering converting to grass fed operations and those who are already producing grass fed beef.

The first monthly grass fed report was issued on Monday, September 23, 2013.  In addition to market commentary, the new report includes three sections: prices paid for live cattle, wholesale beef prices, and direct-market beef prices. This monthly report brings market clarity and exposure to assist the grass fed industry in marketing their products.  In the future, as the number of market reporting participants grows, USDA will continue to expand the report by including trade volume data, and adding graphs and other visuals. Source: USDA news blog

What’s that Weed?

We often will see weeds also develop along with our new hay and pasture seedings. Occaisonally, it will be a species that is not among the “usual” suspects”. Such is the case with a recent “find” here at the UW Lancaster Ag Research Station in a new grass seeding for Dr. Ken Albrecht. Thanks to Drs. Jed Colquhoun and Mark Renz for the correct ID:  a vegetable, bok choi!

No, this wasn’t included as part of a “salad bar grazing mix”, apparently the seed came in as a contaminant when the grass seed was processed. And while we don’t expect that it will take over the new grass stand, this experience does bring to mind that we have information on our certified seed tags that will give us an indication of the presence of “weed or other seed” in the bag of seed, along with other information that may be useful to us. When you plant new pasture and hay fields, keep those seed tags handy for a season or two in case there is a question later.

The USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Center has a nice fact sheet on understanding the information on seed tags. For links to weed management and identification resources, go to our pasture Weed Management page.

Per.Weed,LARS,'13 Bok ChoiBok Choi in new grass seeding, Lancaster, 2013.

Watch for Pasture Weeds this Spring

According to Extension Weed Scientist, Dr. Mark Renz, although spring precipitation has alleviated some concern about a continued drought, we can expect some lingering effects in 2013 related to weed management.  Many pastures last summer were overgrazed, and only the weeds remained green until the late rains in September.  The combination of slow regrowth this spring and stress on pasture forages last year will result in significant changes in pasture plant composition in 2013, with the potential for weed species to increase. Mark reviewed several management practices to consider in pastures related to weed management in this week’s issue of WI Crop Manager.

Spring 2013 Pasture Management Tips: After the Drought

Wisconsin pastures will need extra TLC in 2013 to overcome the extremely dry and hot conditions that we experienced during the 2012 growing season. Plan to get out on your pastures early this spring to assess their condition, then review previous soil fertility, weed concerns, and grazing records to anticipate site specific issues as you develop this season’s management plans for your pastures. The factsheet, Spring Pasture Management Tips 2013 is available to assist Wisconsin producers as prepare for the 2013 grazing season.