FOLEY, Minn. — The University of Minnesota Extension is working with the Central Minnesota Forage Council, agribusinesses, and farmers on the Alfalfa Harvest Alert Project again this year. This project monitors alfalfa conditions throughout the Minnesota to help farmers stay on top of their alfalfa fields related to their feed needs, personal experience, and current alfalfa conditions.

This project kicks off when alfalfa reaches between 14 to 16 inches tall. Project cooperators will sample fields Monday and Thursday mornings. Generally, when alfalfa gets around 24 inches tall, we can expect to start seeing buds. With alfalfa, the bud stage is usually when forage quality is in the range for better quality dairy hay and harvest takes place.

Last year alfalfa sample collection started on May 4th and ended on June 1st. Clipped samples are tested to determine Relative Feed Quality, Relative Feed Value, Neutral Detergent Fiber, and other alfalfa quality factors related to harvest decisions. Quality and maturity will also be estimated through an equation called the “Predictive Equation for Alfalfa Quality” RFV. This process uses the stage of maturity and height of the tallest stems to estimate Relative Feed Value and Neutral Detergent Fiber.

The Alfalfa Harvest Alert Data Tool is active again this year. This tool will allow you to select and sort data by year, county, and grower to look back and compare RFV, RFQ, and PEAQ RFV. As the 2022 season progresses this will be the home for all collected information and will remain active throughout the entire year. Go to z.umn.edu/AlfalfaHarvestAlert to learn more.

The Alfalfa Harvest Alert Project information will be shared similarly from past years. Internet users can search for “Minnesota Crop News” for posted information. The results can be directly emailed to you by going to z.umn.edu/tricountysignup and subscribing to the email list.

This article was submitted by Nathan Drewitz, University of Minnesota Extension.

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