After last year, you’d think we’d all be experts at spotting damage in the alfalfa crop-at least what it looks like to have it totally killed out. But damage that can reduce yields (not a total kill) are more subtle to spot. Here are some signs:
1. Late green-up of the crop
Green-up of alfalfa occurs when the air temperature is 60 degrees and the top 2-4 inches of the soil wamr up to 40 degrees. If a field is significantly slower at greening up than another-chances are pretty good that it is showing some damage.
2. The roots are an off-color
Roots should be a solid creamy white color. We know that dead, the roots are brownish. If the plant has damage, it will be gray, softer and dry.
3. The alfalfa stand is uneven.
Uneven growth can mean some of the crowns have sustained damage and yields will be affected.
All in all, if you’ve got 80% coverage of the field, chances are that the alfalfa will yield well. We could really use a good crop this year.