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Central MN Alfalfa Scissors-Cut Data - May 28, 2013

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

Posted Originally May 28 10 p.m.
UPDATED May 29 about 5:30 p.m. with more data and a couple of notes about situations where PEAQ data is greatly different from lab test results.

The "PDF" document listed here is Central MN Alfalfa Harvest Alert Scissors-Cut Data and PEAQ readings received so far for May 28. We aim to sample again on Thursday May 30 and will post some of that information on Thursday and Friday afternoon.  

Alfalfa Field Data May 28 2013.pdf

For more information about using and interpreting information from alfalfa scissors-cut sampling or in using PEAQ sticks, go to


In the May 23 Alfalfa Scissors-Cut data I posted some discussion with Craig Sheaffer - U of M Forage Research Specialist, Jim Paulson - U of M Regional Extension Dairy Educator, and Dan Undersander - U Wisconsin Forage Specialist.... on the topic "Should I wait longer to cut alfalfa that was stressed by the winter weather?" ... or whatever all raised havoc with alfalfa fields since last summer.

Dr. Undersander suggested for winter stressed alfalfa, cutting at a minimum of 170 RFV/RFQ for milk cows and 150 RFV/RFQ for heifers and beef cattle. He was referring to what a PEAQ stick reading or scissors cut lab test might read. Considering harvest and storage, cutting when the PEAQ stick reading or Scissors-cut lab test is around 170 might result in feed coming out of storage at about 150. Cutting when the PEAQ stick reading or Scissors-cut  lab test is around 150 might result in feed coming out of storage at about 125 or so.

It is important to consider your production levels, other feed resources and ration strategies, and past experience with fields and with cows as you consider this.

I know nutrition advisors who would say, don't compromise your cows opportunity to do the best they can for you any more than you have to.

It is commonly observed that fiber digestibility is higher for first crop alfalfa that typically grows under cooler weather conditions. That should work in our favor a little bit if rainy weather delays harvest.

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