First Cutting of Alfalfa and Grasses Has Begun

Last week we alerted Ohio producers that alfalfa and grass forages were at or quickly approaching the time for harvesting high quality forage. This last week producers began taking advantage of the breaks in rain and getting some first cutting done. We observed some fields getting close to flowering; however, the height of alfalfa is the main driver of %NDF and not maturity stage. Some fields were beginning to lodge and alfalfa weevil feeding continues, which is a good reason to harvest alfalfa as soon as possible.

Field estimates of %NDF were again made this past week across the state. The PEAQ method of estimating %NDF has been a valuable tool for alfalfa producers to be alerted to the changing quality status of their alfalfa. If producers need more guidance on forage NDF targets for certain animal classes, there was a great article written two weeks ago and can be found here (scroll down on the page).

The following table indicates average stage, height, and %NDF values over the past few weeks across Ohio. These are average values from different fields, but one reporter noted this week that %NDF varied by as much as 5.5 units among fields, so it is important to check each field.

Date

Location (County)

Average Height

Stage

Average %NDF

5/12/22

Adams

26.4

Bud

36.1

5/13/22

Clark

26.4

Bud

35.5

5/16/22

Defiance

26

Bud

36.6

5/15/22

Licking

27

Bud

34.5

5/16/22

Putnam

25

Bud

35.9

5/16/22

Stark

N/A

N/A

Harvested

5/15/22

Wayne

24.3

Bud

35.5

5/19/22

Geauga

18.5

Bud

31.5

5/20/22

Adams

32

Bud

40.8

5/23/22

Licking

30

Bud

39.4

5/23/22

Wayne

26.5

Bud

37

5/23/22

Defiance

32

Bud

40.8

 

 

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.