Alfalfa is an important part of a cow’s diet, having 4 crops grown in a year. Generally farmers will have 28-30 days in between cuttings for optimal forage quality, reducing the need to purchase feeds to increase protein in the diet. However, when is the optimal time cut the 1st crop? Determining when to cut first-crop alfalfa is often difficult because alfalfa quality, relative to flowering (or maturity) stage, varies greatly.
To help farmers monitor and determine the optimal time to harvest first crop alfalfa based on quality, Extension Fond du Lac County and the Fond du Lac County Forage Council will be evaluating forage quality conditions for 1st crop alfalfa harvest. Each week, alfalfa samples from fields around the county will be sampled and submitted for laboratory analysis to determine quality. Also, the height of the plant will be recorded and compared to a table to estimate, field-side, alfalfa quality utilizing the PEAQ method starting Monday, May 15, 2023.
Results will be available weekly at https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/fdlag/alfalfa/ until it is time to harvest 1st crop alfalfa.