1st Cutting Forage Quality Update ~ April 26, 2021

Erik Smith, Area Field Crop Specialist
Central New York Dairy and Field Crops

April 29, 2021

This is our first week of monitoring 1st cutting for quality in 2021. If you are not familiar with our procedures we use alfalfa height to predict Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF) for alfalfa, alfalfa/grass mixed and grass stands. Alfalfa height has proven to be a reliable indicator of NDF values in the field. Here are numbers that are helpful when using alfalfa and grass height as an indicator of NDF content. In general:

Begin cutting 100% grass stands when nearby alfalfa is 14" tall to achieve the desired 50% NDF. Begin cutting 50/50 alfalfa/grass stands when nearby alfalfa is 22" tall for the desired 44% NDF. Begin cutting 100% alfalfa stands when alfalfa is 28" tall for the desired 40% NDF. To achieve the desired NDF it is necessary to begin cutting at NDF values slightly lower than the desired value assuming some harvest and storage losses which the above alfalfa height values reflect. For example 28 inch tall alfalfa is closer to 38% NDF but you will need to start then to end up at 40% NDF.

Predicted days to cut are based on daily NDF increases for grasses of 1% point, 50/50 mixed stands of .8% points and alfalfa of .5% point. Typically, NDF increases about 0.8 to 1.2/day for grasses expecting the lower end of that range in cooler weather and the higher end in warm. Alfalfa NDF increases about 0.4 to 0.7/day again figuring the lower end of that range with cool temperatures and the higher in warm. 

While most of us still have some time, several locations may be cutting all-grass fields very soon (This week? Tomorrow? Today?), and I know several of us are planting corn before the rain comes this week. We've been dry so far, so this warm weather and the coming rain will give everything a major boost. I expect these heights to increase dramatically by next week, and cutting 50/50 fields will be very soon. Below is this week's chart of measured location, but you can use the location and elevation as a guide to conditions that may be similar to your own. Always check your fields to verify your heights and conditions!

To summarize and make it easier for those whose locations aren't listed, here's a chart showing the relationship between elevation and alfalfa height across our region. Alfalfa height decreases by about an inch for every ~240 ft rise in elevation. If your location isn't listed, you can roughly estimate your alfalfa's height within a few inches based on your elevation. Just follow the line:






Dairy

Dairy

Livestock

Livestock

Forages

Forages

Grains

Grains

Upcoming Events

Manure Management & CAFO Permit Workshop - Waterville

December 6, 2022
Waterville, NY

Lunch included.  CCA Credits available.  This event will count as a DEC approved manure applicator training for CAFO permitees.

view details

Manure Management & CAFO Permit Workshop - Ballston Spa

December 8, 2022
Ballston Spa, NY

Lunch included.  CCA Credits available.  This event will count as a DEC approved manure applicator training for CAFO permitees.

view details

Artificial Insemination Training Course

December 12 - December 13, 2022
Little Falls, NY

Two day course.  Lunch included.  The course will have classroom and practical components.  Registration limited to 12 people.

view details

Announcements

Spotted Lanternfly

Lycorma delicatula, or Spotted Lanternfly (SLF), is an invasive plant hopper from Asia and is an agricultural pest. In the United States, it was first found in Pennsylvania in 2014. Spotted Lanternfly has been found in New York State on Staten Island, all New York City boroughs, Long Island, Port Jervis, Sloatsburg, Orangeburg, Ithaca, Binghamton, Middletown, Newburgh, Highland, and the Buffalo area. SLF threatens the agriculture and forestry industries, and is also a nuisance pest. The nymphs and adults feed on over 70 different plants, but is especially detrimental to grapes, a black walnut, hops, maple trees and apples. New York State Ag and Markets supported CCE efforts to help bring awareness to communities and we developed this Public Service Announcement and would appreciate you sharing it with your member lists. 



Sign Up for Our Weekly E-Newsletter

We send out a bi-weekly e-newsletter that has announcements, upcoming programs, and opportunities for you!  Registration is quick, easy, and free.  Click here to sign up today!

CCE Livestock Program Work Team

See the Livestock Program Work Team website for news, upcoming programs, and NYS Slaughterhouse Map.

NEWSLETTER   |   CURRENT PROJECTS   |   IMPACT IN NY   |   SPONSORSHIP  |  RESOURCES   |   SITE MAP