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Don’t Forget About Hay and Forage Crops

 

Don’t forget about your Hay and Forage Crops
Brian Beyer, Agronomy Sales, Stewartville
bbeyer@allamericancoop.com (507) 251-1291

The arrival of Easter means spring planting will be next on the list of things to do. Although corn and soybean preparations usually are the common concern, this is also a key time to consider hay and forage preparations as well. It appears that we may get an early start to the growing season. However, we still need to focus on our plan for this year’s forage crop to maximize volume and quality. Even though we can’t control Mother Nature, we can still take steps to help solidify positive results.

  1. A solid base is always a good place to start. Keeping soil pH, phosphorus, potassium, and sulfur in line will provide a good foundation for the following products and tools to take your alfalfa crop to the next level.

  2. Fungicide- Using a fungicide at the proper time can be huge when it comes to quality and tons. Your alfalfa crop should be in that 6-8 inch tall plant growth and a pre harvest interval (PHI) of 14 days. Biggest benefits are commonly noticed during the 1st and 2nd cutting.

  3. Plant Growth regulators- A common one used is Ascend, timing again on this product is 6-8 inch growth. Has proven to aid in tonnage over the growing season and capturing higher feed quality.

  4. Micro Nutrients- After we get the Macro nutrients in check, looking to micro nutrients is a smart move. Applying micro nutrients during the 2nd through 4th has been found to be most effective in many cases. An example is Boron. It is one micro nutrient that can be a limiting factor for alfalfa, especially during those drier times of the growing season.

  5. Insecticides- leaf hoppers are no new pest to those who grow forage. Scouting and timing are key when we look at insecticides. We want to apply insecticides before crop loss occurs.

  6. Tissue & Soil testing- utilizing testing to get bench mark values will prevent from over applying or under applying. Soil testing is extremely effective, especially when we begin to look at soil pH and macro nutrients. Tissue sampling comes into play as we look at micro nutrients and other limiting factors.

As I mentioned Mother Nature may throw us a few curve balls, but if we can manage, scout, and use the tools available then we have a good chance to produce those high quality and larger ton hay crops. If you have any questions please consult any of the agronomists at your local All American Co-op Progressive Ag Center. They would be glad to help in any way possible. Thank you for your business and good luck on the start of yet another growing season!

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