Alfalfa reports project predicted harvest dates

Ray Mueller

MANITOWOC, OUTAGAMIE COUNTIES - Reports early this week from Manitowoc and Outagamie counties suggest that the first cutting of the alfalfa fields which survived widespread winter losses should start next week into the first week of June.

Three crop consultants in Manitowoc County who filed reports with the Extension Service office on May 15 found alfalfa stand heights ranging between 13 and 20 inches. Based on the Relative Feed Value (RFV) determined by the use of the Predictive Equations for Alfalfa Quality (PEAQ) stick, the earliest suggested harvest dates were May 24 and 26.

At the end of the first week of April, a new growth of alfalfa was emerging in a field at Wichman Farms northwest of Freedom in Outagamie County.

Those fields were near Greenleaf and Maribel in the northern part of the county. They had reached RFVs of 205 and 213. A field near Branch with a height of 16 inches with an RFV of 234 was projected for a May 29 harvest.

In the central part of the county, between Valders and Manitowoc, a field at 14 inches also received a May 29 recommended cutting date. A field near Newton with a 13 inch growth was given a May 30 harvest date while one very near Lake Michigan at rural Newton was calculated for a June 2 cutting based on its plant heights of 10 to 13 inches.

In Outagamie County, the reports on Monday, May 15 included both the PEAQ scores and the Relative Feed Quality (RFQ) ratings which are based on scissors clippings that were run through a laboratory analysis at Dairyland Labs in De Pere. In two cases, the assigned values were very close while they differed greatly for the other two.

An 18 inch stand near New London received a PEAQ-RFV score of 223 and a 229 RFQ on the laboratory analysis. Similarly, a field at 17 inches near Kaukauna got scores of 230 on PEAQ and 240 on RFQ.

From a field near Freedom with alfalfa at 23 inches, the PEAQ score was 195 while the laboratory RFQ came in at 233. For a field near Seymour at 24 inches on May 15, the results were a PEAQ value of 190 and a laboratory scissors cutting RFQ of 257.