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Alfalfa Harvest Alert May 16

by Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison County,, 320-968-5077

This is a joint project of U of M Extension, Central Minnesota Forage Council as a chapter of the Midwest Forage Association, Cooperating farmers and agribusinesses.

Click on May 16, 2016 Alfalfa Harvest Alert Data to see sampling information from Monday May 16 2016 - Updated on Tuesday Evening May 17 about 8:30 p.m.

Click on May 16 Test Questions for a closer look at the issue of some sites showing a significant increase in Lab Test RFV and RFQ from Thursday May 12 to Monday May 16, using the Scapanski site as an example.

Read more for more information about harvest prospects, frost.

Reports are that where alfalfa getting 24 to 26 inches tall and show signs of buds starting to develop, some alfalfa is starting to be cut. I've had several discussion with people who had alfalfa 18 to 22 inches that were considering making use of this week's sunshine to harvest. There could be some risk that there could be some yield reduction in 2nd crop if root reserves are not strong for getting 2nd crop started. You are likely taking a yield reduction. You need to consider whether you can manage the "higher-octane hay or haylage in your rations effectively.

Where the crop is not quite as far along, some people are looking to see how the weather develops and clears next week. For some feed needs and in some areas, harvest might a little later yet.

Where you're evaluating frost injury, there's probably been enough time past to know whether you getting some new leaf growth at the top of stems. I'd guess tips would be turning white with no further growth, if terminal buds died. Growth buds can start at lower leaf nodes.

I'm getting some samples this year from a cooperator who seeded alfalfa with a few pounds of orchard grass last year. As we might expect, we are seeing lower RFV numbers than we might expect because of higher NDF in grass generally. We are seeing better RFQ numbers because of generally higher fiber digestibility in the grass. I mention earlier that Jerry and Debbie Cherney at Cornell have a nice publication: "Predicting Spring Fiber Content of Forages."
You should be able to find it here.

BE SURE TO CHECK OTHER MN CROP NEWS postings related to FROST factors. Weed Scientist Jeff Gunsolus added some discussion today about HERBICIDE USE on stressed crops.

Make SAFETY a priority.

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