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Central MN Alfalfa Harvest Alert Data - May 10, 2012

by Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties
UDATED MAY 11 about 10 PM

This is the information from PEAQ field notes and Scissors-Cut sample lab tests on May 10 for the Central MN Alfalfa Harvest Alert Project. We expect to get more sample information from today on Friday and we'll aim to update this posting here sometime on Friday night.

Alfalfa Harvest Alert Data 2012 05 10.pdf

The data for entries in the "height" column marked with an asterisk are still from a previous sample date.

Alfalfa at the Poppler farm near Waverly was CUT on Wednesday May 9. It was 24 inches on Monday. Some farms are considering harvest plans for next week, where the crop is ready for their ration targets. Things will likely change quickly if we get warm weather.

Because of the tremendous VARIATION we see in fields this year for a lot of different reasons, it's even more important for farmers to check their own fields and to have a clear idea of their own feed needs related to quality and yield. Some fields are ready now, some might not be ready for 10 days to 2 weeks. Along the way, everyone can wrestle with what they can count on from the weather.

Please note cooperating agribusiness and Extension people who are working with this project as noted at the end of the report, the Central MN Forage Council and cooperating farmers.

Please Plan and Prepare for a SAFE hay harvest.

For more information about Scissors-Cut sampling or PEAQ go to: and look under "harvest and storage"

You can also find an article by Jerry Cherney at Cornel that provides field indicators and an estimate of harvest targets for alfalfa grass mixtures based on NDF estimates, the height of the alfalfa and the % of grass in the stand.

You can also get more information and order PEAQ Sticks by going to:

Midwest Forage Association

You can check the neighbors:


We've had some questions this spring about whether alfalfa would mature at a shorter height because it came out of dormancy so early and has been around along time this spring. After the warm March weather, growth was limited because of cool weather and in some cases maybe for lack of soil moisture. There may be fields where this is an issue. In some fields we can find the beginning of buds at 10 to 20 inches on some stems. Lab tests on SOME fields might indicate they are maturing at a shorter height. For some fields, the RFV numbers are lining up pretty closely with what we might expect based on height and stage of maturity. AGAIN because of the VARIATIONS we are seeing, it's important to take a look at YOUR fields.

Watch for signs of Alfalfa Weevil Larva feeding damage and 1st crop continues to grow and all the way through second crop.

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