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Alfalfa Scissor Cuts May 31 & June 1, 2018

by Randy Pepin, UMN Extension Educator, Stearns, Benton, and Morrison Counties or (320) 333-1369

Harvesting high quality alfalfa hay is a prime concern of most dairy farmers.  The ideal time to cut first crop alfalfa has many variables such as: spring weather, severity of the winter, the weather last fall, how the field was managed last fall, age of the alfalfa stand, alfalfa variety, fertility level, and each farmers criteria on desired hay quality.  Collecting a series of scissor cuts samples of an alfalfa stand beginning early in the growth stage will monitor the progress of the alfalfa maturity.  We harvest scissor cuts on a number of fields throughout central Minnesota to help dairy producers observe the maturing progress across several fields.

Scissor Cuts Samples through June 1, 2018

Data from May 31 and June 1  Chart Showing scissor cuts taken on dates indicated, various tips and observations, and sponsors of this program.

Farm Charts and Graphs  Charts at the top and Graphs on the bottom of each farms scissor cut progress

Map of Farm Locations  A map of approximate locations of farm sites


The first crop alfalfa harvesting is well under way.  Some farmers were done before this last weekend, others are in the middle of harvest, and most everyone else will be cutting alfalfa hay this week.  Rain has been spotty, some people have received more than adequate rain while other could use a little more.  A typical early summer scenario.

Other Hay Information

This information is not intended to tell anyone when to harvest alfalfa, it only is a guide to monitor several alfalfa fields in the maturing progress.  You need to look at your own alfalfa fields to determine when the time is right for you to harvest.

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