Skip to main content

Central MN Alfalfa Harvest Alert May 23

By Dan Martens, U of M Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties

Click here Alfalfa Field Data 05 23 2011.pdf for information from field sampling on May 23 that we have back as of 4:30 on Monday afternoon.
The first page shows information received so far for all farms on May 23. The next pages show information for each farm individually so far this spring. These are listed generally from south to north: Scott, Carver, McLeod, Meeker, Wright, Stearns, Benton, Morrison Counties.
Samples from some farms are mailed to the forage lab and it takes another day to get information back.

I would not put a lot of stock in the lab RFV number at O & S Dairy on May 23 at 150. This is why we like to have 3 sample days and not rely too much on the information from one sample. I'd expect this alfalfa to be more in the 200 range and the sample with old crop residue left in the sample to be somewhat lower.

Note that the Meeker and McLeod fields are being reported as in the bud stage now. It could be 10 days to 2 weeks before you would see blossoms in it. Barry Visser said the Poppler sample was on the verge of being in the bud stage. I could find the beginning of buds in the Winkelman and Scapanski fields that I sampled this morning if I picked away at the top of a few stems pretty diligently.

I try to avoid making predictions, but I'll guess that there could be taller fields that would make good dairy quality hay sometime this week if the weather and soil conditions were suitable for harvest. There could be a lot of hay growers from Benton and Stearns County south that would like to see good hay making weather next week, and stay on a more favorable place with the calendar for the rest of the summer.

Nathan Winter reported 4 inches of rain through the weekend in Hutchinson. I've heard 2 to 2.5 inches in a lot of our area ... and getting on fields would be an issue this week, and for some fields even into next week.

Farmers along with other people with work heavily affected by the weather know the task of figuring out how to play the cards that get dealt... and the rest of us can have a great appreciation for what they do.

Print Friendly and PDF