Spring Alfalfa Scouting

Now is the time to grab a shovel and start getting out in alfalfa fields and scouting them.  Start with the older fields and the ones under more adverse conditions.  If those fields are suitable for another year, the rest likely will be as well.  So far this year, most alfalfa stands have looked to overwinter rather well.  The only signs of winterkill so far are in fields that were harvested in October 2020 causing some extra stress on the plant.  Affects from the cold nighttime temps we were experiencing last week (18-20 degrees F) will not be completely known until 7-10 days after the cold snap.  Most stands should withstand the cold just fine due to the fact they are just breaking dormancy and most had adequate energy reserves going into winter.

The following is a reminder of some key metrics when walking hay fields to note along with some visuals.  Feel free to reach out to your agronomist to ask them to give their thoughts on your fields as well.

Desired plant Density:

  • New Seeding

▪  There should be 25—30 Plants per square foot

  • 1st production year

▪  There should be 10—15 plants per square foot

  • 2nd production year

▪  There should be 6—10 plants per square foot

  • 3rd production year

▪  There should be 4—6 plants per square foot

Stand Assessments – Crown Rot Scorecard













(click photos to enlarge)

Healthy stands have less than 30% of plants in categories 3 & 4