Following a first-crop harvest interrupted by frequent rains, alfalfa hay growers in central Minnesota were waiting for a break in the weather last week to start second cutting. So reports Dan Martens, University of Minnesota Extension educator in Stearns, Morrison and Benton counties.

Even with the iffy weather, many growers were able to put up “a fair amount of good-quality hay,” says Martens. “In some cases, the cooler weather we had in April and May slowed growth, so yields were a little bit on the short side. Even so, I think most people would say it was a pretty respectable crop.”

Heavy dandelion pressure led growers to plow up some fields for corn. “But some fields had enough alfalfa in them to make a decent second crop.”

Alfalfa weevils and potato leafhoppers have also posed a challenge for many producers. “There’s been a fair amount of spraying for both insects,” says Martens.

Growing-degree models indicate weevil larvae should be moving on to the pupa and adult stages and aren’t likely to be a problem for the rest of the year. Yet growers will want to remain vigilant. “We are seeing some variation in the size of the weevil larvae, so we’re encouraging people to remember to watch third-crop regrowth closely to make sure they don’t have problems. They’ll also want to continue watching for potato leafhoppers.”

To contact Martens, call 320-968-5077 or email marte011@umn.edu.