Alfalfa is Ready to Harvest for Some Dairy Farmers, Will be Ready for the Others Soon

Alfalfa ready to harvest for some dairy farms, ready soon for all others.

The recent warmth and sun, followed by an area wide rain event have definitely pushed alfalfa growth, especially the well drained soils.  Excess moisture is still inhibiting growth and maturity in a few regions of the two county regions.

The 9 fields in Marinette County when Scott Reuss walked them were as follows:

location            max ht.             RFV

County Line     26                     196

Coleman          25                     204

Grover             25                      206

Porterfield       24                      208

Beaver            28                      184

Beaver West   28                     185

Crivitz             26                      186

Middle Inlet     26                     191

Wausaukee     24                     197

Additionally, Seed Concepts Staff walked four fields in Oconto County Friday morning and sent me the results:

Ave. ht.            RFV

Chase              22                    200

Oconto Fls       26                    180

Oc. Falls 2       27                    175

Lena                21                    205

The expected temperatures over the weekend will slow maturation down in the next few days compared to the past week, but the numbers definitely indicate that dairy farms wanting high quality forage need to get started with harvest.  A key point to remember is that the data reported above is PEAQ data, not laboratory analysis.  The growth conditions we have had this week pushed height, but likely kept lignin content down a bit, so these numbers may be a bit lower than reality.  However, weeds and grasses bring quality down, so those fields are probably about right.

Whatever absolute reality is for a particular field, alfalfa yield has caught up to normal, so we have a pretty good first crop out there this year and good prognosis for second crop growth.  Reuss did find the start of alfalfa weevil larval feeding in a few fields, but numbers were very low.  Producers should watch for regrowth issues, however, and be ready to combat weevil larvae if they scout poor growing areas and find heavy larvae counts.

Reuss will walk fields again Monday, and that will likely be the last full data set collected for the project this year.  Those numbers will be available here or at the state web site at:
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