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May 23 Alfalfa Harvest Alert Data

by Dan Martens, Extension Educator, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties,, 968-5077 if a local call to Foley or 1-800-964-4929


Click on May 23 Alfalfa Harvest Alert Data to see May 19 information from Hoen and Roerick Farms farms, and May 23rd field observations from Gathje's, Lab RFV numbers also from Winkelman, Scapanski, and O & S Dairy. RFQ numbers should be posted on Tuesday late afternoon. 

Click on Alfalfa Graphs to see line graphs of all tests so far. 

WATCHING THE CROP AND THE WEATHER - not a new task with hay harvest... 
Some people watched the weather last week to consider whether they could make use of hay or haylage that might test quite a bit higher than they prefer in rations, and maybe give up some yields. Some people may watch the weather this week and consider strategies for making the best use of hay and haylage that tests lower than preferred. Generally as we move north, there certainly is alfalfa that has not reached growth and maturity ranges that are preferred. It's not all the same. When the crop and or weather looks acceptable, in any case, the goal is to harvest, store and feed the crop to make the best of it. 

REGROWTH AFTER FROST: Where growth buds at the top of the plant were not hurt by frost (most places) the plants continued to grow nicely. I clipped the tips off the stems for a couple square feet in one field last Thursday. I could see new new growth starting at a lower leaf attachment on Monday. It would take some time before this would catch up with growth on un-damaged stems. 

NEW GROWTH: I can see various amounts of new growth from crowns of plants I clipped on previous sample days. Watch for new regrowth within 3-5 days. There are some indications that alfalfa weevil larva could be around and they could feed on new growth faster than it comes. Bruce Potter reports AW eggs hatching in SW MN now. We are at Growing degree days where we could have some hatch now. 
CUTTING HIGHER TO AVOID CUTTING NEW SHOOTS: Some people say to cut alfalfa at 4 inches to avoid cutting new shoots from the crown. I advise checking at ground level to see if there are new shoots, and how tall they are. I only saw one plant with 2 new shoots on while sampling on Thursday and they were less than 2 inches. Here's a pretty good discussion about cutting height related to alfalfa yield and quality: Cutting Height Discussion

CUTTING HEIGHT FOR GRASS alone or in a mix with alfalfa does affect grass regrowth. Cutting at 3-4 inches more most grasses is a benefit to regrowth and survival.

BLACK CUTWORMS - There are some reports of Black Cutworm feeding on corn. Watch from a bout Big Stone, Stevens, Pope, Stearns, Benton to Wisconsin Border and South. Could be a chance of straying a little farther north. Newsletter from Extension IPM Specialist Bruce Potter:


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