Enviro-weather can help you time alfalfa cutting
Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.
Growing degree days are an effective measure for harvesting alfalfa fields at peak quality. In years with adequate rainfall, Allen et al. recommend: “Begin cutting alfalfa at 750 GDD (base 41 degrees F) for upright silos and 680 GDD (base 41 degrees F) for horizontal silos. Start even earlier for horizontal silos if it takes more than a week to finish harvesting.
Getting the numbers to actively use this advice is easier now with a report on Enviro-weather. From the Enviro-weather home page, select the weather station located closest to you. From the station page, choose “field crops.” From the field crops page, select alfalfa cutting model to create a report of accumulated growing degree days. This tool also provides a 7-day forecast, so you can plan around rainfall or other events. When the degree-day goals of 680 and 750 are reached, the numbers are highlighted in red for a quick visual.
1. Allen, Mike, Rich Leep, and Jeff Andresen. Timing Spring Alfalfa Harvest - The Final Word? In Forage Information Systems @ Michigan State Univeristy - Extension.http://web1.msue.msu.edu/fis/extension_documents/Timing_First_Spring_Alfalfa_Harvest.htm
The alfalfa cutting model on Enviro-weather.