- Author: Konrad Mathesius
- Author: Gabriele Maier
- Author: Josh Davy
- Editor: Mark Lundy
Looking a little dry out there?
Dry conditions mean it's good to be cautious about nitrate toxicity in forage crops, particularly small grain hay, grasses, and anything weedy! Nitrates can harm or even kill animals. Growers should test forages and stay vigilant.
Why are dry years more of a concern for nitrate toxicity? Drought conditions in California this year are the worst they've been in decades. Many growers are considering cutting their grain fields for hay, however, that may cause some concerns for ruminant livestock if forage nitrate (NO3) levels are not monitored closely since drought stress can cause nitrate accumulation in forage plants.
- Author: Rachael Freeman Long
- Author: Thomas Getts
It's that time of year again to watch for those evil alfalfa weevils! Weevils are key pests of alfalfa, causing yield and quality losses mainly to the first alfalfa hay cutting. The alfalfa weevil complex includes the Western, Egyptian, and Eastern strains that are all likely the same species (Hypera postica). Each year, growers throughout the country deal with this devastating pest. Telltale signs of weevil damage are small holes in the leaves of the new growth during the winter and spring, depending on field location. Damage is most severe in the first cutting, with large uncontrolled infestations potentially causing damage to the alfalfa regrowth under windrows within the second cutting.