Home Farm Equipment Estimating first-crop alfalfa harvest using PEAQ

Estimating first-crop alfalfa harvest using PEAQ


The expansion and improvement of alfalfa is affected by many components, together with temperature, soil moisture, stand age and even cultivar. Alfalfa progress has been slower than regular attributable to cool circumstances in April. This can be a good reminder that using a calendar date to find out when to harvest the primary crop of alfalfa could not the perfect methodology. With a view to precisely predict the optimum time for the primary slicing, the College of Wisconsin developed the Predictive Equations for Alfalfa High quality (PEAQ) methodology.

The PEAQ methodology makes use of alfalfa stand peak and maturity stage (vegetative, bud or open flower) to estimate the relative feed worth (RFV). Normally, it is suggested to harvest alfalfa at about 150 RFV for milking dairy herds and 125 RFV for heifers, stocker cattle and lactating beef cattle. First-crop alfalfa left standing within the area can drop three to 5 RFV factors per day. The steps on the way to use the PEAQ methodology to find out when to make the primary crop of alfalfa are listed under.

Whereas PEAQ offers a very good estimate of RFV, changes for harvest loss also needs to be made. Even below the perfect harvest circumstances, 10% to twenty% of the forage dry matter can be misplaced at harvest. This quantities to roughly 15 RFV factors for haylage and 25 RFV factors for hay. Subsequently, to finish up with 150 RFV alfalfa, harvest the crop when PEAQ measurements estimate a RFV of 165 for a haylage harvest and 175 for a hay harvest. Moreover, climate forecasts and permitting correct drying time needs to be thought-about when deciding when to harvest alfalfa.

Steps for using PEAQ to find out when to take first-crop alfalfa

There are six steps to determining when to take your first-crop alfalfa:

Step 1. Select a consultant 2-square-foot space within the area.

Step 2. Decide the stage of essentially the most mature stem within the space by using the definitions on the prime of Desk 1.

Step 3. Measure the tallest stem within the space. The tallest stem is probably not essentially the most mature stem. Measure the stem from the soil floor to the tip of the stem; to not the tip of the leaf. Straighten the stem for an correct peak measurement. Based mostly on stem maturity and stem peak, use Desk 1 to estimate the RFV of standing alfalfa crop.

Step 4. Repeat steps 1 to three in 5 consultant areas throughout the sector.

Step 5. To estimate harvest high quality, subtract 15 to 25 RFV items to account for harvest losses in the course of the haylage or hay harvest course of, respectively.

Step 6. Decide the optimum harvest time using the PEAQ estimate, livestock forage high quality wants, concerns of upcoming climate forecasts favorable for harvest and drying, and the final assumption that RFV drops three to 5 factors per day.

Iowa State College Extension and Outreach maintains a PEAQ website that features a fact sheet explaining the way to use the PEAQ methodology to find out when to harvest first-crop alfalfa. This web site additionally contains postings of PEAQ values from some alfalfa fields throughout Iowa being monitored by ISU Extension and Outreach workers.

Comply with the progress in these experiences, however keep in mind that circumstances can differ field-by-field. Subsequently, it is suggested to take PEAQ measurements in your individual fields for the perfect evaluation of when to harvest alfalfa for the standard of forage you want to obtain.

Michel is an Iowa State College Extension area agronomist.

Supply: Iowa State College Built-in Crop Administration Information, which is accountable for the data supplied and is wholly owned by the supply. Informa Enterprise Media and its subsidiaries aren’t accountable for any of the content material contained on this info asset.



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