Verified FBN Member (MN)
Agronomy

Cut now or fertilize and wait

My 2nd crop is still very short, 1st crop ran great, but now I'm wondering if I'd be better off feeding it and letting it grow until mid August, it's a grass alfalfa mix but heavier on the grass side.

Verified FBN Member (MI)
(edited)

My advice is to cut assuming your slow growth is due to lack of rain, and your alfalfa is at 10 percent (or more) bloom. We were in a similar position with alfalfa/grass mix. Due to rain that finally came just before cutting, our bloom reached 50 pct before we could cut. We cut and baled before losing more nutritional value and the hay became less palatable. Less yield than hoped but we’ll get a third cutting. We are hoping for more rain and better growth by then (mid August). If growing slow with rain, and no bloom, I’d test soil.

Verified FBN Member (OH)

My experience over the last 33 years tells me you should cut it now if the alfalfa is in bud or bloom then fertilize when you get rain. Even the quality of the grass will decline if you wait. I have done both and you'll be much happier with 2 half ton cuttings of good/great hay than a 1 ton cutting of hay that's not so great. Other than fuel and time, they both take the same amount of resources including very expensive nutrients.

Verified FBN Member (VA)

It’s hard to give advice on this because no one knows what your soil test says… Do a soil test and see what your levels are.. So that way you can feed the alfalfa what it needs… Levels of nutrients can change over a growing season.. Always try to do at least one test a month..

Verified FBN Member (IL)

Our second crop of alfalfa was short like that too, but since it was alfalfa we had to cut it because it was blooming. We decided to cut it and let the 3rd cut grow longer than.

Welcome! You only have 2 free posts remaining.

Our FBN ® Community Forum is exclusive to . To become a Verified Farmer, sign up for your free account and gain access to our secure online farming community.