by Ben Nuelle
The Iowa Forage and Grassland Council Conference is set for January 19th and 20th in Ames.
Hay farmers still face many challenges. Randy Welch is national alfalfa agronomist with Winfield. He says challenges with alfalfa get down to the basics.
“We need to have good fertility. We need to have good insect control. We need to have good disease control. The basics are still really important for high-yielding alfalfa. All the whizzbang stuff we can talk about is really cool but we still need to manage, stand densities, plant health, and the basics of alfalfa.”
Welch says another struggle is return on investment.
“One of the things is the land costs doesn’t go down whether you raise four town of alfalfa or seven ton of alfalfa annually. I think one of the things corn and soybean farmers found over the years is profitability of your cropping operation depends on yield.”
He adds costs of inputs is less than the return of the value of the crop.
“That is the point where farmers in alfalfa struggle is that if I spend a dollar and make two dollars that’s a good day and a great investment. We have many situations where farmers are giving up a couple of pennies to lose dollars when it comes to production.”
Welch attended the National Association of Farm Broadcasters Convention in Kansas City in early November.