Tips and tricks

When should alfalfa hay be cut?

When should alfalfa hay be cut?

The optimal compromise for higher forage quality and dry matter yield of alfalfa is to harvest the first cutting at the late-bud to first-flower stage and to make subsequent cuttings at 32-to-35 day intervals until late August or early-September, often referred to as a “4 summer-cut system.”

How do you cut alfalfa for hay?

Cutting Alfalfa Cutting should always be made above any new shoots that are sprouting from the crown, since the growing point of legumes is at the stem tips, and cutting them will severely retard the next growth. This is not true of grasses, whose growing point is at or below ground level.

Does alfalfa need to be mowed?

Alfalfa does not like frequent mowing (only 2-4 times a year depending on the zone) It is hardy with a heck of a root system and, nutritious for foragers and grazers. I wouldn’t use it for a yard but, for a forage and grazing area, yes, it can be good for that. White clover is better for a mowed lawn.

What happens if you cut alfalfa to early?

Realize that if you are cutting alfalfa earlier there will be a yield reduction and possibly a reduction in stand longevity. First cutting alfalfa changes rapidly at this time, and weather delays will decrease forage quality.

Does alfalfa regrow after cutting?

Alfalfa takes about 40 days to develop the ability to regrow from the crown after cutting. Plants cut before this point need at least one set of leaves remaining to regrow.

How tall should alfalfa be when you cut it?

2-inch height for all cuts during the season, 2-inch height for the 1st cut, 3-inch height for the 2nd and 3rd cuts, 3-inch height for all cuts during the season, 6-inch height for all cuts during the season.

What happens if you don’t mow alfalfa?

If it stays dry those new shoots could die off. Once your alfalfa does receive enough rain for regrowth it might regrow a little faster if it’s cut, but it also will regrow following sufficient rain without cutting. In most cases, it’s not worth the cost and time involved to shred, clip, or harvest low-yielding hay.

How tall should I cut alfalfa?

What happens if I dont cut alfalfa?

Once your alfalfa does receive enough rain for regrowth it might regrow a little faster if it’s cut, but it also will regrow following sufficient rain without cutting. In most cases, it’s not worth the cost and time involved to shred, clip, or harvest low-yielding hay.

Can you cut alfalfa the first year?

These first harvest recommendations may be earlier than some folks like to cut. However, after this early cutting the regrowth of seedling alfalfa will become more similar to established alfalfa, giving you the opportunity for two or three cuts the first year. And, it helps control many weeds as well.

What is the best cut of alfalfa hay?

Third (and later) cut alfalfa, develops a higher leaf to stem ratio because of the slower growth during the cool part of the season. Therefore, third cut hay will usually have the highest nutritive value.

How often should I cut my hay field?

The first cutting in the spring should be when grass has greened up and reached 12 – 16 inches tall. This should clean up all the old growth of winter weeds and such. Then each subsequent cutting is at 3.5 to 5 week intervals.

How soon can you bale hay after cutting?

Subject: RE: How long does your hay lay to bale dry? Cut first thing in the morning, ted about 2-4 hours later, do nothing the next day, rake as soon as dew is off (-48 hours after cutting), let dry about 3 hours, and bale. Sometime takes an extra day to dry or occasionally a day less if perfect weather.

What height do you cut alfalfa?

When should I rake hay after cutting?

As a rule of thumb, wait to rake hay until after the dew has dried and the sun nears its peak, or around 11:00 am. If possible, let the raked hay sit for an hour or two before baling to allow more drying time. Haymakers have several types of rakes available.

How long should alfalfa dry before baling?

It takes about 30 sunshine hours to field-cure non- conditioned hay in the Midwest, according to Univer- sity of Wisconsin studies. In the spring, this requires about four days and decreases to about three days in the summer. Humidity. temperature and wind speed also influence curing time.

Does alfalfa grow back every year?

A: Yes, alfalfa is a perennial and will grow back every year as long as it receives the proper care. Overall, it is an easy crop to grow.

How long do you leave hay before baling?

How long does alfalfa take to cure?

When should I cut alfalfa hay?

Many growers cut soon after the first blooms appear; however, weather can cause long delays and sometimes alfalfa doesn’t bloom very aggressively during spring. Plus, waiting until alfalfa begins to bloom often results in hay that is too low quality for dairy use. So what about cutting before plants bloom — or even before they form buds?

How do you dry alfalfa hay?

Sometimes so-called hay drying agents or desiccants have been used to increase hay drying rate. These chemicals are applied at the time of cutting and reduce field drying time by increasing the rate of water loss. They do not directly dry the hay crop, but rather break down the waxy layer (cuticle) on alfalfa stems.

Should I cut grass or alfalfa hay for dairy cattle?

The cutting decision for ‘all grass’ and grass-dominant mixed hay should be based on the feed quality needs. Grass is considered higher in fiber than alfalfa, so, alfalfa and alfalfa-dominant hay mixtures of less than 20 percent of the stand or hay composition is generally recommended for lactating dairy cattle.

Does cutting height affect alfalfa forage quality?

If growers raise their cutting height to leave these high fiber basal stem sections in the field, they may increase forage quality. This change in quality would most likely be greatest for spring growth alfalfa since the proportion of stems to leaves is highest at this time.