Alfalfa production was generally up across the country as hay conditions improved over the drought-affected crop of 2012. Exceptions occurred in the Southwest, where producers noted that dry conditions had a major negative impact on their ability to cut non-irrigated alfalfa hay.
All other hay
Production of other dry hay in 2013 totaled 78.4 million tons, 16% more than 2012. Harvested area, at 40.5 million acres, was up 4% from last year. Average yield was estimated at 1.93 tons per acre, up 0.19 ton from last year.
Other dry hay production also rebounded from the drought-affected crop of 2012. However, dry conditions in the Southwest hindered non-irrigated production, while untimely rainfall in the Mississippi Delta led to hay quality issues because producers were unable to bale mowed hay.
U.S. corn silage production highest since 1981
USDA’s annual Crop Production report estimated 2013 corn silage production at 118 million tons in 2013, up 4% from 2012. It represents the highest U.S. production since 1981. The United States silage yield was estimated at 18.8 tons per acre, up 3.4 tons from 2012. Area harvested for silage was estimated at 6.26 million acres, down 15% from a year ago.
Sorghum silage production was estimated at 5.42 million tons, up 31% from 2012. Area cut for silage was estimated at 380,000 acres, up 5% from the previous year. Silage yields averaged 14.3 tons per acre, up 2.9 tons per acre from 2012.
Eighteen states are included in USDA’s annual forage estimation program, which measures annual production of forage crops, with an emphasis on total alfalfa production. Haylage and greenchop production is converted to 13% moisture and combined with dry hay production to derive the total forage production.
The total 2013 all haylage and greenchop production for the 18 states in the forage program was 28.0 million tons, of which 18.5 million tons are from alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures. The total all haylage production was up 6% from last year. The 18-state total for all forage production was 89.6 million tons, an increase of 13% from last year. Of this, 46.0 million tons were produced from alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures.
To find the USDA hay and forage production data, click here.
Cottonseed estimate raised, but still small
One final feed-related note: Production of cottonseed for 2013, based on a 3-year average lint-seed ratio, was expected to total 4.41 million tons, up slightly from December's estimate, but down 22% from last year. Even with the increase, the annual cottonseed harvest remains the smallest since 2009.