The combination of fewer hay acres and reduced yield potential following freezing temperatures could lead to increased demand for Indiana hay, reports Keith Johnson, Purdue extension forage specialist. "With the intent of more corn being planted in Indiana and surrounding states, my presumption would be that we will see fewer hay acres," he says. "Then we went through the freeze that set alfalfa back. Southern Indiana alfalfa growth was around 8" when the freeze hit, while alfalfa in northern Indiana was around 4" high." Johnson did not recommend an immediate clipping of alfalfa that sustained freeze damage, but advised letting growth that survived help in the healing process.

Alfalfa weevil is a concern in southern Indiana and Johnson urges producers throughout the state to keep a watchful eye out for feeding.

Some winter-annual weeds survived the freeze better than the alfalfa, so Johnson expects weeds may be more obvious in the first harvest. He says some growers may get three cuttings instead of four as a result of the freeze.

Contact Johnson at 765-494-4800.

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