Skip to main content

Alfalfa Harvest Alert Info in Central MN - May 17, 2010

By Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties

Updated May 19, 2010 ~ 5:30 p.m.
Some Harvest has started.

Report for field samples on Monday May 17:
Alfalfa Harvest Alert Data May 17, 2010.pdf

For more information about doing scissors cut sampling or using PEAQ sticks or charts, look in the center of the U of M Forages web page at:

Some harvest has started.
This doesn't make it the right time for everyone to cut, but for many people it means taking a close look in much of the area. Weather note below:

A couple of more fields are noted as being in the bud stage now. And with warm sunny weather, I'd expect a few more by Thursday. Remember it's important to think about the kind of quality that works well for your feeding strategies or your particular type of livestock.

We took a few extra samples today as we get closer to harvest to take a peak at what some other things look like. There could be a lot of variations in other fields on these kinds of things.

At the Ackerman farm this field is a new seeding spring 2008 that has some compaction from a wet harvest in August last year.
Taller part of this field: 19.5" ADF 24.9  NDF 31.4  PEAQ 215  Lab RFV 206  RFQ 222
An Older Stand          19.7"  ADF 25.9  NDF 32.3  PEAQ 212  Lab RFV 198  RFQ 220
At O S Dairy we sampled in another field that is an older stand with a fair amount of old crop residue.
Without Residue 22"   CP 23.3  ADF 25.8   NDF 32.4   PEAQ 200  Lab RFV 197  RFQ 205
With Residue     22"   CP 22.3   ADF 27.4   NDF 35      PEAQ 200  Lab RFV 180  RFQ 183

Some Tufts of Orchard Grass near Foley, Headed out, about 24 to 30 inches tall
CP 14.8    ADF 34    NDF 57.9    NDFD30 61.3    RFV 100    RFQ 144

Alfalfa Grass Mix about  58% Alfalfa 42% Grass (mostly quack) both 20-22 inches

CP  22.3  ADF 26.9   NDF 36.6   RFV 173   RFQ 190

Alfalfa Grass Mix about 75% Alfalfa 25% Grass (mostly quack) both 19-22 inches

CP 22.5   ADF 27.5   NDF 39     RFV 162    RFQ 176 

We might get a couple more results back on Wednesday. 

GEOGRAPHY MATTERS: Soils, local mini-climates, moving north and other factors affect crop  development. Things are different as we move from Jordan to Hutchinson to Waverly to Eden Valley to Upsala to Pierz to Motley. I talked with an alfalfa grower Southeast of Motley who is interesting in doing some sampling. On Monday May 17, he said his alfalfa was 10-12 inches tall and we decided it might by May 20 or even 24 before he would take his first samples.

WEATHER is often a major factor in hay harvest decisions. I talked to a couple people today who were a little nervous about the forecast at the end of the weekend for slight chances of showers and a thunderstorm somewhere. I asked State Extension Climatologist Mark Seeley about this. The reply: "Small chances of showers along the southeaster border with Iowa late Friday to Saturday, and slight chances for scattered showers in far western sections Sunday. But these are slight chances. Mostly there is a big warm up on the way, with temperatures in the 80s and even perhaps 90 next week. Bigger chances for rain come by next Thursday and Friday, as dewpoints climb into the 60s and 70s." Time will tell.

Print Friendly and PDF