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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

Tag Archives: alfalfa

Our topography and soil types prevent most crop damage during flooding; however, time, temperature and plant growth status are major factors that affect the extent of crop damage after a flood. This may become an issue with a prolonged rainy period. A June or July flood, for example, is often much worse for crop survival than a spring flood. The warmer mid-summer weather increases the rate of damage and death to submerged plants. During spring flooding, temperatures are colder and plants can survive longer under water.

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Predictive Equations of Alfalfa Quality (PEAQ) provides an estimate of the quality, measured as Relative Feed Value (RFV), for the first cutting alfalfa standing in the field. Climatic variations impact alfalfa growth and development making it impossible to use a calendar date each spring to best determine when to harvest the first crop. The PEAQ method uses alfalfa stand height and maturity stage to estimate the RFV. It is most appropriate for good stands of pure alfalfa with healthy growth.

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Rock Valley Hay Auction for Thursday, Mar 23, 2017

Receipts:  72 loads    Last Week:  72 loads    Last Year:  74 loads

Compared to last week:   Alfalfa and grass hay sold at lower levels.  Interest and demand was light, with quality varying throughout the sale.

Alfalfa: Good:  Large Squares, 3 loads 95.00-112.50; Large Rounds, 2 loads 87.50-97.50. Fair:  Large Squares, 2 loads 75.00-80.00; Large Rounds, 15 loads 65.00-82.50.  Utility: Large Squares, 1 load 60.00; Large Rounds, 4 loads 55.00-60.00.

Grass:  Premium:  Small Squares, 1 load 140.00.  Good:  Large Squares, 2 loads 70.00-80.00; Large Rounds, 5 loads 80.00-90.00; Small Squares, 2 loads 82.50-85.00.  Fair:  Large Rounds, 14 loads 55.00-70.00.  Utility:  Large Rounds, 6 loads 45.00-50.00.

Alfalfa/Grass Mix:  Good:  Large Squares, 2 loads 75.00-82.50; Large Rounds, 1 loads 77.50. Fair:  Large Squares, 1 load 65.00.

Wheat Straw:  Large Squares, 2 loads 50.00-55.00.  Large Rounds, 2 loads 70.00-72.50.

Oat Straw:  Large Rounds, 2 load 40.00.

Cornstalks:  Large Rounds, 5 loads 30.00-35.00.

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A warm weather pattern in late February caused soil temperatures across most of Iowa to rise above 40 degrees F.  ISUEO Agronomist Brian Lang notes that this is was likely warm enough long enough for alfalfa and some forage grasses (most ryegrass varieties and the less winterhardy orchardgrass and tall fescue varieties) to break dormancy.  However, when low temperatures recur, alfalfa plants can reharden to a degree, but only to the extent that it still has stored carbohydrates available. Winter injury occurs either with enough warm-cold cycles to use up the carbohydrates, or if the temperature drops so rapidly that the plant does not have time to sufficiently reharden.

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As I have been traveling in NW Iowa, I’m seeing standing water in fields and am wondering what how unusual warm temperatures will effect the stands. ISUEO Agronomist Brian Lang send out this link- it has lots of good information:

http://agronomy.wisc.edu/2014/09/04/fall-alfalfa-management-can-make-or-break-survival-says-dan-undersander/

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