Winter damage to Upper Midwest alfalfa could be substantial

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Experts predict that the open winter in the Upper Midwest this year may have lasting negative effects on alfalfa fields. Extended cold temperatures and little snowfall have, most likely, increased winterkill.

Producers will be able to ascertain the extent of the damage in the next few weeks. However, the start of spring does not signal the end of risk for alfalfa fields. Winter injury can still occur during the vast temperature fluctuations — freezing at night with sometimes-balmy days — which commonly occur in the area during early spring.

To estimate how your alfalfa fields faired this winter, check out the University of Minnesota worksheet "Calculate your risk of alfalfa winter injury." Click here.

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