By Nathan Drewitz and Kaitlyn Czeck, University of Minnesota Extension
FOLEY, Minn. (06/01/2022) — The Alfalfa Harvest Alert Project is getting close to the end. We already have cooperators that have taken first cutting and many more who will be doing so before the weeks end. As this date gets closer there are a few things to be aware of, mainly the lodging issues that came about from the last storm.
Harvesting lodged alfalfa requires adjusting your original practices to maximize your yields. Cutting against the direction of the lodged alfalfa will help lift the plants into the blades. Reducing 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. You may also see increased ash content if the mowing height is set incorrectly. 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.
The following are the most recent Alfalfa Harvest Alert results from May 26 to May 31:
Nicollet County – Annexstad Dairy near Norseland; Harvested May 27
Sibley County – Belter Dairy near Glencoe; May 26, Ht = 21, PEAQ = 206, RFQ = 264, CP = 24
Carver County – Dreier Farm near Norwood; May 26, Ht = 24, PEAQ = 180, RFQ = 251, CP = 24
McLeod County – Krienke near Lester Prairie; Harvested May 26th
Kurthkine near Buffalo Lake; May 26th, Ht = 17, PEAQ = 235, RFQ = 258, CP = 24
Wright County – Poppler near Howard Lake; May 26, Ht = 25, PEAQ = 190, RFQ = 216, CP = 24
Krause near Buffalo; May 31, Ht = 30, PEAQ = 160, RFQ = 215, CP = 23
Stearns County – Gathje near Eden Valley; May 31, Ht = 24, PEAQ = 190, RFQ = 263, CP = 29
Maus near Freeport; May 26, Ht = 16, PEAQ = 237, RFQ = 278, CP = 29
Frericks near Melrose; Field hailed out
Benton County – Scapanski near Sauk Rapids; May 31, Ht = 23, PEAQ = 189, RFQ = 198, CP = 24
O&S Dairy near Rice; May 31, Ht = 27, PEAQ = 172, RFQ = 217, CP = 25
Skroch near Rice; Harvested May 28
Morrison County – Roerick near Upsala May 26, Ht = 20, PEAQ = 211, RFQ = 286, CP = 26
Kahl near Buckman; May 31, Ht = 22, PEAQ = 194, RFQ = 207, CP = 24
You can find more detailed reports at the UMN Extension Website by searching for “Minnesota Extension Crop News”, or by calling (320) 968-5081 if you are in Stearns, Benton, or Morrison counties. If you are outside that area call Extension colleagues Colleen Carlson in Scott and Carver counties, Emma Severns in Sibley and Nicollet counties, Karen Johnson or Adam Austing in Wright, McLeod and Meeker counties for more information. You can also look at the compiled scissor cut information from 1997 to 2022. If you would like the more detailed reports, sign up for email updates.
Thanks to our sponsors Vita Plus, Nelson Dairy Consultants, Anez Consulting of Little Falls, Legacy Seeds, UFC in Cologne and Winthrop, Sunrise Ag Cooperative, Farmers and Merchants State Bank in Pierz, Sauk Rapids and Eden Valley, Dairyland Lab at Sauk Rapids, Heim Milling Company, Gilman Coop Creamery, Munson Lakes Nutrition, Dohrmann Enterprises, Paynesville Coop, UMN Goplen Lab, KASM 1150 AM Albany, KTLF 960 AM Little Falls, WVAL 800 AM and 102.3 FM Sauk Rapids, St. Cloud, KRWC 1360AM Buffalo, and the Central Minnesota Forage Council.