The weather continues to make hay harvest an interesting proposition. Last week’s rains and thunderstorms left standing water in a lot of fields, and hampered those trying to make dry hay.
The Weekly Crop Progress Report from the National Ag Statistics Service’s Wisconsin office says the wet, cool weather made only 2.4 days suitable for fieldwork last week. That limit meant farmers only made 5 percent progress in harvesting first-crop hay. Still, the agency says first crop harvest is now 88 percent complete, two points behind the five-year average. Unfortunately, a lot of what was cut down at the beginning of the week is lost and what is still standing has lost a significant amount of quality. On the plus side, the rain gave second crop a boost.
Meanwhile, harvest of first-cutting alfalfa is complete in most of central lower Michigan, reports Paul Gross, Michigan State University extension field crops educator. “The rains have been just like irrigation for the regrowth.”
After a very good first cutting, it appears second cutting will also be very good, he adds. Harvest of second cutting began this week, but the rains have kept those trying to get grass hay dry from wrapping-up first cutting.
Meanwhile, potato leafhopper activity and numbers are on a significant upswing in several areas. Therefore, don’t slack on scouting fields for insects. While many fields have plant height on their side right now, it is important to continue to watch for signs of leafhopper feeding injury, say forage experts. For more information, check out: Continue to monitor fields for alfalfa weevil larvae and potato leaf hoppers.