Alfalfa is now past the optimum stage throughout most of the province and haying has started. Looking at the RFV (relative feed value) for most areas we are at or below the 150 point and in some cases closer to 130 RFV for pure alfalfa stands. Weather conditions at the beginning of the week have producers out trying to get the first cut off early enough to ensure that a second and possibly 3rd cut will be taken in 2016.
Most of this years first cut won’t make dairy quality therefore forage growers will need to push the cutting date for 2nd and or 3rd to try and get some top quality hay this year. Rainfall amounts across most of the province seem adequate for a good start to 2nd cut except in the NW region where moisture is still needed.
John McGregor – MFGA
Over the weekend we have seen the fields move into the early flower stage and have grown about 1 inch/day. On Monday morning there were a number of fields in the area that were being knocked down in anticipation of a few days of good weather without rain.
There are reports of fields going into flower. Once alfalfa starts to flower it usually indicates that it is time to cut your hay no matter what type of livestock you are feeding. Alfalfa beyond full bloom doesn’t generally increase your tonnage of harvested material and as it matures it loses lower leaves rapidly, decreasing its feed value.
Although haying is just underway in the Southwest, when rain is forecast, some think about waiting. There are many studies on this and they have determined that a one inch rain 24 hours after being cut can cause losses of up to 22 per cent in dry matter. Whereas a 1.6 inch rain over several day caused a loss or 44 per cent.