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Alfalfa Harvest Alert Data May 12, 2016

by Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties,, 320-968-5077  
UPDATE MAY 13 p.m.

Click on May 12, 2016 Alfalfa Harvest Alert Data for sampling information for Thursday May 12 as of 8:30 a.m. Friday evening May 13.

Depending on how quickly things get through the mail, I might have a few more of the results by late afternoon, and will update the link here. I’d expect the Carver County sites would have been somewhere around 24 inches on Thursday, similar to others in that area.

Some Observations and Frost Comments in further reading.

People might consider whether having Lab Test RFV and RFQ numbers that are higher than PEAQ estimates gives them a reason to wait on harvest, thinking they could pick up more yields and hang onto suitable quality. Or when the crop gets to be around 24 to 26 inches and shows early signs of budding, harvest if the weather gives you an opportunity, rather than waiting to see what the weather does next. Some people work with idea that something you have at hand, is better than guessing about what might happen later.

Your past experience with harvest and feed quality needs are an important part of this, and your nutritionist might have some ideas about what they’d like to have to work with in rations in the mix with other feeds you are using. I’m not in a position to coach you about that.

I think I have found in previous years that with generally cooler weather, there is more variability in fields, from field to field, and farm to farm, even in the same neighborhood. It can be even more important to take a look at what’s going on in your own fields. In the same neighborhood we could have fields moving over 20 inches while others are still 16-17.

In many years, eventually the weather becomes the primary driver; and farmers are well versed in doing their best they can with the cards that get dealt.

Sounds like a chance of FROST around here, 30-31 degrees on Saturday/Sunday Morning. Even down to around 28 degrees, tops of alfalfa stems might drop over, but should straighten up quickly and be OK. Somewhere below 27-28 degrees, there could be damage to growth buds at the top of the stem. I have not seen that happen during the last 20 some years. I would not mind missing that experience either.
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