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University of Minnesota Extension

Alfalfa Harvest Alert Report for May 15 through 17

Source: Tyler Rice, Extension Educator, Crops - Stearns, Benton, Morrison, & Sherburne Counties, (320) 968-5077, rice0416@umn.edu

FOLEY, Minn. (05/17/2023) — With warmer temperatures and adequate precipitation the alfalfa crop in Central Minnesota is growing rapidly.  This also means that the Alfalfa Harvest Alert Project is well underway. The goal of this project is to alert alfalfa growers to start first crop harvest when the crop is at a level of quality that matches animal nutrition goals without undercutting yield potential.  The alfalfa scissor-cut harvest alert program is not a prescription for any particular harvest date but can be a go-to decision tool for those alfalfa producers that are busy managing other crops in the rotation during one of the busiest seasons on the farm.

Fresh cut samples of alfalfa are collected when the height of the stand reaches between 14 and 16 inches tall. Project cooperators will try to sample at least twice a week usually Monday and Thursday until harvest. These samples are submitted to our lab partner, Dairyland lab, to analyze according to standard forage quality parameters. Quality and maturity will also be estimated through an equation called the “Predictive Equation for Alfalfa Quality” (PEAQ).  This process uses the stage of maturity and height of the tallest stems to estimate relative forage value (RFV).

May 15, 2023 sample results

The following results were sampled on May 15, 2023
County Location Height (inches) PEAQ RFQ RFV CP
Nicollet Annexstad Dairy near Norseland 16.6 232.5 351.95 302.76 28.63
Sibley Dieball Dairy near Green Isle 20.3 219.8 293.36 253.94 28.63
Carver Dreier Farm near Norwood 18 224 295.52 249.84 30.14
McLeod Kurthkine Dairy near Buffalo Lake 13.7 354.5 326 276 28.98
Wright Krause near Buffalo 19 232.5 351.95 302.76 31.71

May 17, 2023 sample results

The following results were sampled on May 17, 2023
County Location Height (inches) PEAQ RFQ RFV CP
McLeod Krienke near Lester Prairie 19 220 334.88 266.2 28.97
Wright Poppler near Howard Lake 17 235 316.78 267.27 30.29

You can find more detailed reports on the Minnesota Extension Crop News page or by checking the up-to-date alfalfa scissor-cut data

Thanks to our sponsors: Barry Visser at Vita Plus, Greg Lefebrve with Nelson Dairy Consultants, Anez Consulting of Little Falls, UFC, Sunrise Ag Cooperative – Buckman, Farmers and Merchants State Bank – Pierz, Heim Milling Company, Helena Agri-Enterprises, Munson Lakes Nutrition, Dohrmann Enterprises, Paynesville Coop, Luxemburg Feed Services, Centra-Sota Cooperative, Magnifi Financial Credit Union, Dairyland Lab at Sauk Rapids, KASM 1150 AM Albany, KTLF 960 AM Little Falls, WJON 1240 AM St. Cloud, WVAL 800 AM and 102.3 FM Sauk Rapids, St. Cloud, and the Central Minnesota Forage Council.

Local Extension contacts

Stearns, Benton, Morrison and Sherburne counties

Tyler Rice, Extension Educator, Crops
rice0416@umn.edu  or 320-968-5081

Scott and Carver counties

Colleen Carlson, Extension ag educator
traxl042@umn.edu or 507-521-3640

Wright, McLeod and Meeker counties

Taylor Herbert, Extension Educator, Crops
therbert@umn.edu or 612-394-5229

Karen Johnson, Extension Educator, Livestock
ande9495@umn.edu or 320-693-5275

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