Bone-chilling cold weather in many parts of the country in early 2014 likely caused unpleasant flashbacks for alfalfa producers who saw crops decimated by winterkill a year ago.

Don’t worry, assures Dan Undersander, University of Wisconsin Extension forage specialist. Alfalfa – and he’s talking about crowns and not topgrowth – can survive soil temperatures of 10-15°F.

“As little as 4” of loose snow will insulate against 16°F of air temperature. The crown is insulated by soil as well. Therefore, the crucial temperature is the temperature at 2-4” below the soil surface,” he says.

As of Jan. 8, the soil temperature of bare ground at a depth of 4” was generally in the single digits above 0°F throughout the Midwest. In areas where there were 4” or more of snow on the ground, though, the soil temperature at a depth of 2-4” was generally 28-30°F. “(That’s) well-above the temperature likely to cause injury to alfalfa,” he says.

Read more from Hay & Forage Grower:

Farmer Offers Buyers, Seller 'Hay Depot' Option

Energy Crop To Be Used As Livestock Feed

Yield: Is It The Alfalfa Or The Management?