Agronomy Talk

27

Mar

2019

Agronomy Talk: Alfalfa Winterkill

Author: Mike Blaine

The weather we experienced this winter has caused difficulties for everyone, but for farmers, the winter of 2018-2019 has led to uncertainty when in the hopes of a normal spring planting season.

Across a large swath of the Northern Corn Belt, especially those areas where alfalfa is an integral crop, a late, wet Autumn resulted in saturated soils going into the winter months. Compounding this situation were the late December rains (in some locals approaching 2.0 in.), an extremely cold January, persistent low temperatures throughout February and multiple heavy snow events in early March. As of March 13, 2019, when this article was written, Minnesota has experienced our second inch of cold rain.  And though the snow depth has gone from 26 in. to a level of 18 in. in the past 36 hours, the chances of injury to our alfalfa crop is higher than normal this year.

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