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Alfalfa is Ready to Harvest in Ohio

By Angela Arnold and Bruce Clevenger et.al

Ohio’s spring had a cold start but has rapidly turned the corner to persist warmer temperatures. Many of Ohio’s pure alfalfa stands are ready to be harvested for high-quality feed. As alfalfa field observations are being made across the state, educators are noticing in more southern regions alfalfa stage seems to be further behind than usual with current height measurements. Meaning, this year if producers were to make a harvest decision based on alfalfa maturity, %NDF would be higher than what is expected. Thus, using PEAQ to estimate %NDF quickly is such a valuable tool for alfalfa producers.

Some dairy producers took advantage of the warm dry weather this past weekend to harvest a few pure alfalfa stands. As more rain is expected across the state this week, be mindful of harvesting in wet conditions. Harvesting when the soil is too wet and soft will do non-reversible compaction damage to the stand and will lower the productivity the rest of this year and into future years.

If producers need more guidance on forage quality targets for certain animal classes, there was a great article written last week which can be referred to here.

The following table indicates average stage, height, and %NDF values over the last week across Ohio.

Date

Location (County)

Average Height

Stage

Average %NDF

5/12/22

Adams

26.4

Bud

36.1

5/13/22

Clark

26.4

Bud

35.5

5/16/22

Defiance

26

Bud

36.6

5/15/22

Licking

27

Bud

34.5

5/16/22

Putnam

25

Bud

35.9

5/16/22

Stark

N/A

N/A

Harvested

5/15/22

Wayne

24.3

Bud

35.5

Source : osu.edu

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