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University of Minnesota Extension

Alfalfa Harvest Alert Report for May 18 through 22

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

FOLEY, Minn. (05/23/2023) — The Alfalfa Scissor-cut Harvest Alert is being updated regularly as alfalfa growth accelerates. 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 are sampling 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 18, 2023 sample results

The following results were sampled on May 18, 2023
County Location Height (inches) PEAQ RFQ RFV CP
Nicollet Annexstad Dairy near Norseland 21.25 204.4 225.69 199.61 27.95
Sibley Dieball Dairy near Green Isle 22.3 198.6 237.97 203.99 26.9
Carver Dreier Farm near Norwood 23 195 223.74 194.89 26.35
McLeod Kurthkine Dairy near Buffalo Lake 17.2 229.5 292.89 252.67 28.23
Wright Krause near Buffalo 20.1 200.2 287.64 252.03 27.89
Stearns Maus newr Freeport 17 230 252.27 216.03 31.20

The Dreier Farm field near Norwood in Carver County was harvested on May 22.

The Kurthkine Dairy field near Buffalo Lake in McLeod County was harvested on May 24.

May 19, 2023 sample results

The following results were sampled on May 19, 2023
County Location Height (inches) PEAQ RFQ RFV CP
McLeod Krienke near Lester Prairie 23 200 251.5 230.01 27.69
Wright Poppler near Howard Lake 21 220 287.17 228.28 26.84

May 22, 2023 sample results

The following results were sampled on May 22, 2023
County Location Height (inches) PEAQ RFQ RFV CP
Benton Skapanski near Sauk Rapids 24.5 178.6 249.25 213.18 24.86
Benton Skroch near Rice 19.5 214.5 258.39 232.85 21.82
Benton O&S Dairy near Rice 24.25 178.3 238.37 219.52 25.75
Morrison Kahl near Buckman 19.67 210 275 238.96 25.21

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 including; 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, Luxemborg Feed Services, Centra-Sota Cooperative, Magnifi Financial Credit Union, Legacy Seeds – Tim Schmitt, Byron Seed – Rick Tamm, Dairyland Laboratory 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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