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What is the true cost of Alfalfa Snout Beetle on your farm?

When alfalfa snout beetle (ASB) becomes fully established on your farm, its presence cost you $300-$600 per cow annually.  The higher producing dairies are hit harder than the lower producing dairies because the higher producing dairies are more reliant on their production of high quality alfalfa and grass forage to maintain their high milk production.  This is an unbelievable amount of loss caused by ASB and is ignored by many in the northern New York Agribusiness community.
 
It takes about 10 years for alfalfa snout beetle to become fully established on individual farms after its initial invasion.  ASB damage is frequently missed and stand loss is often blamed on winter kill, until there is a massive migration of adults out of a field or someone uses a shovel to dig yellowed plants in the fall and finds the larvae.  ASB often kill out the alfalfa on the high spots in the field first, a symptom which should draw attention from the truck windshield driving past.  The best time to survey a field/farm for ASB is during October with a shovel to dig and examine yellowing alfalfa plants.  At this time of year, ASB larvae are large, white and easy to identify.
 
ASB is flightless and has a 2-year lifecycle, so movement around the farm is by walking or hitching rides on farm equipment.  The practice of cutting an infested alfalfa field and then moving to a non-infested field next to harvest is the most common way ASB is moved around the farm.  During 1st harvest, ASB adults can be easily observed on the harvesting equipment.  Over the 10 year period, ASB causes more fields to die out from “perceived winter kill”, resulting in less alfalfa to harvest and more required off-farm purchases of replacement protein, so the increasing costs of feeding the cows is spread out over the 10 year period and often overlooked.
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