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Alfalfa Harvest Alert: June 1st

Nathan Drewitz, Local Extension Educator - Crops, Stearns, Benton, and Morrison Counties

The Alfalfa Harvest Alert Project is getting close to the end. We already have cooperators who have taken the first cutting and many more who will be doing so before the week ends. We did note issues with lodging in some fields throughout the area. Harvesting lodged alfalfa requires adjustments to help pick up the knocked-over alfalfa plants. Cutting against the direction of the lodged alfalfa will help lift the plants into the blades. Reducing the ground speed of the tractor will also help pick up lodged alfalfa. Disc speed should be kept higher to help with forage pickup. In addition, ensure knives are sharp to improve cutting. You may also lower your cutting height but use caution as going too low may damage the alfalfa crown and reduce the regrowth rate. If the mowing height is set incorrectly, you may also see increased ash content. Mowers with pick-up reels may also help with more severely lodged stands. The goal is to leave behind as little residue as possible. This will protect future cuttings from potential disease issues that may be present. 

Alfalfa Harvest Alert for June 1st:

This program aims to encourage growers to be strategic with alfalfa hay crop harvest. Farmers should make decisions based on their specific feed and market needs and field observations. We also have a tool that contains all of the data from every county and farm that has participated in the Alfalfa Harvest Alert Program since 1997. Go to to view that data. You can also get the most recent information through email by signing up at and clicking the "Hay Auction and Scissor Cut/Alfalfa Harvest Alert Information" box.

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