FOND DU LAC, Wis. — With the increasing temperatures, we’ve seen a big jump in growing degree day accumulation, and we’re seeing that most alfalfa stands are about ready for the first harvest of the season. Finding a dry weather window can be difficult this time of year, so pay attention to the forecasts and plan in advance. Alfalfa PEAQ measurements and scissor clipping samples were collected by the Fond du Lac County Forage Council & Landmark Services.
Dairy producers and nutritionists are frequently targeting RFVs greater than 150 for alfalfa harvest. Develop your feeding strategy with your nutritionist to ensure rations have the correct proportions of protein, energy and fiber. Remember that PEAQ – RFVs are about 15 – 20 RFV points higher than forage coming out of storage due to respiration and dry matter (leaf) losses. Keep in mind the quality vs. yield trade-off when harvesting alfalfa.
You can monitor the quality of individual alfalfa fields on your farm with a yardstick and the PEAQ Chart here.
On average we lose approximately 3-5 RFV points per day depending on temperatures. Quality measurements and samples will be taken again on Monday, May 24, 2021.
— University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension
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