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Agricultural News

Timing of Last Alfalfa Cutting Important

Mon, 30 Aug 2010 18:01:46 CDT

Timing of Last Alfalfa Cutting Important With temperatures still easily in the 90's it may seem a ways off but the experts are advising alfalfa growers to consider the timing of their last cutting to allow for enough regrowth to reduce the risk of winter injury. David Miller, Pioneer alfalfa research director says poor fall harvest timing can negatively affect stored root food reserves, which can lead to poor winter survival.

Generally, an alfalfa stand needs about six weeks of regrowth time after the last cutting to gain appropriate nutrients to avoid winterkill. During winter months and the following spring, alfalfa utilizes regrowth nutrients gathered by the roots. Depleting the energy source prior to dormancy will not allow the plant enough energy for adequate spring growth.

For growers who have yet to meet their feed requirement, Miller says growers should wait until two consecutive days of a hard freeze. Researchers say the hardening process in preparation for cold weather begins when temperatures drop below 40 F. This process allows the plant to tolerate freezing temperatures for extended periods.



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