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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

USDA’s Crop Production report, released Oct. 11, updated dry hay projections. Production of alfalfa/alfalfa mixture hay was estimated at 55.6 million tons, up 1 percent from August estimates, but down 15 percent from last year. Yield was expected to average 2.95 tons per acre, up 0.03 ton from August, but down 0.45 ton from last year. Harvested area was forecast at 18.8 million acres, down two percent from 2011. If realized, this will be the lowest production level since 1953 and the lowest yield since 1988.

Production of other hay was forecast at 66.4 million tons, up 1% from both the August forecast and last year. Yields are expected to average 1.71 tons per acre, up 0.02 ton from August, but down 0.1 ton from last year. Harvested area was forecast at 38.8 million acres, up 6 percent from last year. If realized, this will be the lowest U.S. yield since 1988 and the second lowest production level since 1990.

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