Alfalfa Fiber Content Estimates in Ohio

Lead Author: Angela Arnold

Alfalfa development over the past week has continued at a a rapid pace and caused an increase in neutral detergent fiber (NDF) values. Alfalfa NDF was estimated in different counties in Ohio using the height and stage of alfalfa, as described in last week’s article about estimating alfalfa fiber content. The table below indicates average NDF and stage of alfalfa in four different counties in Ohio.  It is time to harvest high quality alfalfa in western Ohio!


Location (county)

Average NDF

















Vegetative / Early Bud

Alfalfa producers should keep a close watch on alfalfa development as warmer temperatures persist in the region. Producers should consider harvesting as soon as a weather window opens up. It is likely several alfalfa fields around the state will be harvested this week if weather permits.  

Grass fields are ready for harvest. In fact, orchardgrass is already flowering in western Ohio. Grasses that have reached the early heading stage are already past the prime for high producing lactating dairy cows; however, grass in early heading is still good for feeding to many other classes of livestock with lower requirements than lactating dairy cows. Begin harvesting grasses as soon as you see a good harvest window.

There have also been some reports of alfalfa weevil damage / feeding across the state. In addition to keeping a close watch on alfalfa development for making harvest decisions, producers should be monitoring alfalfa weevil to determine if harvesting earlier is warranted.  If alfalfa weevil damage is at or over the economic threshold, growers should consider cutting earlier to eliminate the risk of losing quality due to weevil feeding. Visit HERE for a factsheet on alfalfa weevil.


Crop Observation and Recommendation Network

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.