Farm Progress is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Serving: West
Harvest stressed alfalfa before leaf drop occurs

Harvest stressed alfalfa before leaf drop occurs

Weevil pressure may suggest early alfalfa harvest. Retain as many leaves as possible. Older fields may need to be replaced sooner than planned.

Alfalfa is under severe stress from drought and alfalfa weevil pressure in many parts of Kansas this spring, resulting in stunted growth and damaged leaves, said Jim Shroyer, K-State Research and Extension crop production specialist.

This will affect management plans, he said.

“Normally, the first cutting of alfalfa should be made when regrowth at the crown is apparent. In the spring, this occurs prior to bloom,” Shroyer explained.

“But this year, producers will have to consider taking their first cutting even if regrowth at the crown has not yet begun. Leaves contain more nutrients than stems, and it’s important to retain as many of the leaves as possible to produce high-quality forage,” he said.

If cutting is required before the optimum time, root reserves on newly-established stands or even older stands may not be satisfactory to permit rapid regrowth, he said. But left uncut, the hay crop may be lost and damage to the stand may occur, he added.

Because of the stresses on alfalfa this season, producers should evaluate the condition of older stands as the season progresses, Shroyer said. These fields may need to be replaced sooner than planned, he said.

Hide comments

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Publish