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.
First cutting should be taken very soon to achieve high quality forage, as seen by some of the estimated NDF levels in standing alfalfa crops around the state. Keep in mind that for dairy quality hay, alfalfa should be stored near 40% NDF and grass hay crops should have less than 55% NDF, which happens in the boot stage, or before the first flowering heads begin to emerge.
Early plantings, cold air and soil temperatures, precipitation, wind, and warmer temperatures during or after planting may lead to reduced stands in planted fields due to factors such as imbibitional chilling, frost damage,
Are you interested in becoming a Certified Crop Adviser (CCA), but are intimidated by the exams? You should consider attending the Ohio CCA Pre-Exam Preparation Course offered by Ohio State University Extension. This online course will be available May 16 through September 30, 2022 and will allow you to study and progress at your own pace.