SCISSOR CUTTING ALFALFA
SCISSORS CUTTING IS NECESSARY TO HELP ENSURE YOU'RE CUTTING QUALITY ALFALFA
Nathan Hrnicek – District Manager, Dairyland Seed
Happy Spring to each of you! As planters and seeding of alfalfa fields have begun, I wanted to take this time to thank you for your continued investment into IDP, and your hard work providing delicious and nutritious products! My wife and I had a tremendous time on the industry tour with many of you to Illinois at the end of March. As you will begin assessing your alfalfa, and the timeliness of the harvest, I wanted to give you a protocol for scissors cutting. This is a necessary step to truly identify the quality of your alfalfa, and give you the best idea of when to cut. Please follow these steps this season, and remember to be safe each and every day. Your return home every night is much more important than any seed going in the ground, or cow to be milked. If you have any questions, please give me a call or text (219)863-6828.
SCISSORS CUT PROTOCOL
PRE-HARVEST ALFALFA TESTING
There is no doubt that high producing dairy herds today feed large quantities of high quality forage. Since forage quality is so important, the timing of alfalfa harvest is critical. A year’s worth of milk production potential revolves around the decision of when to cut. Knowing the quality of your alfalfa crop before harvest can help ensure your forage quality goals are met.
There are several methods available for predicting alfalfa quality. The Predictive Equation for Alfalfa Quality (PEAQ), using growing degree days, and scissors cutting are the most common. Each of these methods can work, but perhaps the most reliable and consistent method is scissors cutting. Scissors cutting takes away the variation in results due to temperature, precipitation, plant height variation, and plant growth stage that other methods may pick up. Scissors cutting is reliable for first crop and all crops during the season, so we recommend testing each crop if possible.
• Device to measure one square foot (ring, square, etc.)
• Garden shears or sharp scissors
• Small bucket
• Sample Bag
IDP Enjoys Unforgettable Tour to Illinois
The IDP Farm & Industry Tour to Illinois on March 30-31 was a terrific bus tour enjoyed by 54 IDP members. To see a picture slide show of the event, click here.
There was great opportunity to see a nice variety of farms with a diverse group of dairy farm owners and industry folks. There should have been something for everyone on the tour to take great interest in, and judging from the camaraderie and laughter on the tour, that goal was achieved.
Summary of the Farm & Industry Tour
Slagel Farm: Heifer raising farm for Seven Hills Dairy in Goodland, Indiana, where they have around 2100 heifers from birth to near springing. They average picking up 25 new heifer calves weekly. Calves are 2-9 days old upon receipt. Mortality losses for the past 12 months were 1%. They raise calves in individual pens in hoop barns along with one automatic calf feeding system. Calves are weaned at 7 weeks and are moved to group pens. They start breeding cows at 13 months. Biggest challenge to the hoop barns is winter snow. The family crops 700 acres in addition to the livestock chores.