Look for alfalfa acres in Wisconsin to increase in the growing season ahead, especially if springtime planting weather is more favorable than it was in 2011, says University of Wisconsin (UW) Extension forage specialist Dan Undersander.

Undersander surveyed producers during a series of eight UW Agronomy Update sessions throughout the state the first week of January. Approximately 500 people attended.

Most of those surveyed said poor weather in April of 2011 – too dry in some areas, too wet in others – reduced new alfalfa seedings. Roughly three-quarters of respondents believed high grain prices held 2011 seeding numbers down. “We should see things recover a bit this year,” says Undersander. “Some of those producers are going to want to come back and seed some of the acres that they couldn’t get planted a year ago.”

In its Crop Production2011 Summary, USDA estimated that Wisconsin seedings of alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures totaled 430,000 acres, unchanged from the previous year, but down 20,000 acres from the 2009 figure.