Posted 28 August 2006. Crop Management.
K-State Agronomists Give Tips on Drought-Stressed Alfalfa
Kansas State University www.ag.ksu.edu
Chanute, Kansas (July 14, 2006) - Alfalfa fields in parts of Kansas are stressed from drought, and Kansas State University agronomists are encouraging growers to cut their losses – literally.
“We have alfalfa that, because of drought, grew from about 4 to 10 inches tall, but has just been sitting there at the same stage of development for two or three weeks,” said Gary Kilgore, southeast area agronomist with K-State Research and Extension.
If the alfalfa is tall enough, Kilgore said, he is advising producers to go ahead and cut it for hay. If, however, the plants are only a few inches tall and haven’t been growing for the last couple of weeks, he’s encouraging growers to cut the field, just let the old growth lie in the field, and let new growth start developing on those plants.
Kilgore said much of southeast Kansas received rain July 13, and cutting the alfalfa now will allow plants to take advantage of the moisture while forming new tillers.
Top growth that has stopped due to drought stress won’t start growing again, said K-State Extension agronomy state leader Jim Shroyer. New stems from the crown will be initiated by recent moisture, but leaving the old growth on plants won’t help them.
More information about alfalfa production, as well as crop production in general, is available at K-State Research and Extension county and district offices and on its Web site: www.oznet.ksu.edu.