- Author: Michelle Leinfelder-Miles
- Author: Dan Putnam
- Author: Rachael Long
A question came to me from a crop consultant. His alfalfa grower asked him how he could increase crude protein (CP) in his alfalfa. The buyer of the alfalfa, for the most part, is happy with the hay. For example, the buyer is happy with the total digestible nutrients (TDN), but he would like to see a little higher CP. The consultant said that the grower is generally on a 28-day cutting cycle and is generally cutting the hay pre-bloom. He wondered if nitrogen (N) fertilizer would help to improve CP.
The best way to improve CP is to: 1) cut early, 2) choose a more dormant variety (but give up yield), and 3) manage the harvest to retain the leaf fraction. Since this grower is already cutting pre-bloom, and since...
- Author: Daniel H Putnam
Come and join farmers, industry reps, PCAs and researchers at the annual Grains/Alfalfa Field Day at UC Davis
The annual UC Davis Small Grains and Alfalfa Field Day will take place on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at the Agronomy Field Headquarters (2400 Hutchison Drive, Davis, CA 95616). Program is below.
This event is organized by University of California Cooperative Extension, and sponsored by California Crop Improvement Association and UC Davis.
Registration opens at 7:45am, and lunch is provided between the small grains morning program and alfalfa afternoon program. The event is free and open to the public, and continuing education credits will be available. Check here for...
- Author: Rachael Freeman Long
- Author: Ian Grettenberger
Painted lady butterflies (Vanessa cardui) are dazzling us with color, but surprising us with sporadic finds of caterpillars on crops this year, including alfalfa, pistachio, walnuts, artichokes, and hybrid sunflower (see IPM Advisor Emily Symmes blog: What's that Caterpillar on my Weeds?).
Painted lady caterpillars primarily feed on weedy hosts such as Malva (cheeseweed), plantago, cocklebur, star thistle, and some legumes, especially lupines, but NOT alfalfa or close relatives. They do not breed on alfalfa or tree crops, so while one may find larvae in these crops, they should not cause any...
It is both a blessing and a curse that alfalfa in California's Central Valley essentially grows all winter long. Although we can get very high early yields, if conditions are too wet, the fields look pretty ragged after a winter which saw rains in excess of 130% of normal.
However, alfalfa is a resilient crop and can likely recover from disease infestations.
Here comes the sun. Warmer, drier weather in the coming weeks is just what we need to dry out water-logged alfalfa fields and get them growing. Rainy, cold weather is a double blow for plants, especially in saturated soils where the crop is growing slowly, so it is more susceptible to diseases favored by moisture. This includes foliar diseases,...
There is little doubt that the heavy late rains we've seen in spring, 2019 in the northern part of California will reduce yields and quality for many alfalfa growers.
How much depends upon soil type and the flooding risk of individual fields and the health of the plants during this stress period.
Roots are often damaged during extensive wet periods, and the remaining roots need mostly time to recover as the weather improves.
When alfalfa is dormant and not growing, it's fairly tolerant of saturated soil conditions. When it begins to break dormancy, and it's cold and wet, plants will start growing, but slowly, making us wonder if there's going to be a reasonable first cutting.
However, when soils begin to...