The Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association (N.A.M.A.) will launch an online alfalfa evaluation tool at the upcoming Mid-America Alfalfa Expo & Conference, to be held at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds in Kearney, Nebraska, Feb. 7-8.
"The evaluation tool allows users to calculate a sound value of their alfalfa based on a nutrient comparable basis or a market comparable basis," said Kyle Lechtenberg of Spencer, Nebraska, a member of the N.A.M.A. board who is helping to develop the tool. "The goal is to have a specific value for buyers and sellers to use as a starting point when marketing alfalfa, instead of simply asking neighbors or coming up with a ballpark guess."
Lechtenberg explained that the nutrient comparable basis model allows users to input current prices of corn and soybean meal. The formula then provides a value of the alfalfa on a comparable nutrient basis. The market-based model, however, uses U.S. Department of Agriculture hay price reporting for inputs. It then adjusts those values based on the natural tendency of buyers to pay better for higher quality hay and flatten out for lower grade commodity hay.
"It will be possible to have both models weighted to get an average of the two," he said. "This is useful in years like this when the market basis model shows a higher value than the nutrient basis model because of short hay supplies. It's really a great tool that will benefit buyers and sellers alike."
Lechtenberg said the model will be explained in detail at the Mid-America Alfalfa Expo & Conference and he encouraged those interested in learning more to attend. He said the tool, designed for N.A.M.A. members, will be accessible through the N.A.M.A. website, Nebraska-Alfalfa.com.
Sponsored by N.A.M.A., the Mid-America Alfalfa Expo & Conference is designed especially for alfalfa producers, livestock/dairy producers and others who are involved in alfalfa production, purchasing, hay feeding or processing.
Presenters include Dr. Al Dutcher, Nebraska climatologist, who will discuss weather patterns and forecasts for the coming crop year; Dr. Ron Hansen, ag economics professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, who will provide a session on multi-generational family farm ownership; Dr. Rick Rasby, University of Nebraska-Lincoln cattle feeding expert, who will focus on nutritional information for cow-calf producers; and Trent Loos, well-known commentator, columnist and ag advocate.
Registration includes admission to all presentations and programs, a Tuesday afternoon reception, dinner Tuesday evening, admission to the large alfalfa industry trade show and the opportunity to bid in the fundraising auction that takes place Tuesday afternoon. The auction features a wide range of items including seed, harvesting equipment, supplies and other valuable products and services.
Registration is $10 per person in advance (tickets must be purchased by noon, Feb. 3, 2012) and $20 at the door. Participants under the age of 18 are admitted at no charge. Registration is available online at www.AlfalfaExpo.com.
For more information, call 1.800.743.1649 or visit www.AlfalfaExpo.com.