Alfalfa fields impacted by the April freeze may need a couple of extra weeks of growth between harvests this summer in order to adequately recover from their rough start, says Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska extension forage specialist. "The hard freeze in early April killed off most of the top growth that already had accumulated, essentially acting like a first harvest," Anderson says. "As far as your alfalfa is concerned, you've taken one extra harvest already this year." In addition to allowing alfalfa to have extra recovery time, Anderson suggests producers ask themselves several questions about other factors that could be contributing to slow growth and weakened plants:
- Is soil pH low so alfalfa roots don't form many nodules to supply nitrogen?
- Do you have enough phosphorus?
- Was alfalfa stressed this spring by leaf diseases?
- Are you facing problems with potato leafhoppers?