2018 Alfalfa Quality Watch

Quality Information from 5/23/18

A rainy and cool May has presented challenges for planting corn and beans. Hopefully the weather will give us a break as first crop alfalfa harvest nears. Growing Degree Days for 2018 are running about 2 – 4 days behind long term normals, (Base 50). Alfalfa growth and fiber concentrations will increase rapidly with impending warmer temperatures. Target Memorial Day Weekend to begin harvesting high quality alfalfa forage in areas away from Lake Michigan.

 Dairy producers and nutritionists are frequently targeting RFQs greater than 150.  Develop your feeding strategy with your nutritionist to ensure rations have the correct proportions of protein, energy and fiber. 

 PEAQ – RFVs are about 15 – 20 RFV points higher than forage coming out of storage due to respiration and dry matter (leaf)  losses.  Keep in mind the quality vs. yield trade-off when harvesting alfalfa. 

 You can monitor the quality of individual alfalfa fields on your farm with a yardstick and the PEAQ Chart.

Please find the PEAQ chart form the link below.

http://fyi.uwex.edu/forage/files/2014/01/PEAQTable.pdf

On average we lose approximately 3-5 RFV points per day depending on temperatures.

Quality measurements and samples will be taken again on Friday, May 25th

Thanks to our sponsors: Adell Coop and the Sheboygan County Forage Council Board: Steve Arentsen, Nathan Casper, Matt Gartman, Brad Laack, Cody Mullikin, Matthew Ramel and Jory Stapel.

 

Location

Sample

Date

PEAQ

RFV

Plant Ht

(inches)

Growth Stage
Batavia 5/23/18 190 24 Vegetative
Cascade 5/23/18 190 24 Vegetative
Hingham – West 5/23/18 195 23 Vegetative
Cedar Grove – S 5/23/18 211 20 Vegetative
Cedar Grove – A 5/23/18 217 19 Vegetative
Town of Wilson 5/23/18 217 19 Vegetative

 Take time to be safe. 

Mike

Michael Ballweg
Agricultural Agent – Crops and Soils
UW-Extension – Sheboygan County
5 University Drive
Sheboygan, WI 53081
Phone: (920) 459-5910
Fax: (920) 450-5901
Email: michael.ballweg@ces.uwex.edu
Web: http://www.sheboygan.uwex.edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

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