Abundant rains bring great yields to 1st, 2nd alfalfa cuttings

Abundant rains bring great yields to 1st, 2nd alfalfa cuttings

Weevils have been issue, along with too much rain in some spots, reduced 1st cutting quality but yields are excellent; 2nd cutting quality is superb

The incredibly wet months of April and May brought good news to the Kansas wheat crop and as harvest approaches for more than 8 million acres, that is the thing most Kansans are focused on.

Behind the scenes, however, there is another important Kansas crop that is also being harvested about now. That crop, alfalfa, is also having a stellar spring thanks to the rains of April and May.

Hay merchandiser Roger Black, who works in Cowley County, says that it has been an exceptional year for yields, although first cutting quality suffered somewhat as it continued to be too wet for timely cutting.

There were also some problems with weevils.

GREAT YIELDS: Alfalfa growth was tremendous this year, thanks to the abundant rains of April and May.

"Some people had to spray twice to eliminate weevils," he said. "But the growth was phenomenal. I some cases, there wasn't a chance until it was too much. And that hurt quality on the first cutting. But the second cutting which is coming in now is absolutely awesome. It's good quality and good yield and just great."

Some farmers saw yields of one and a half tons to the acre, he said.

Going forward, Black says that the big infusion of moisture into the subsoil will benefit the alfalfa crop.

"This is shaping up to be a terrific year for hay," Black said, noting that prairie hay is also flourishing in the wet conditions and will likely see better yields than it has for the last several seasons.

Prices are sharply down from 2015 according to the most recent USDA price reports. In April of 2015 all hay was going for $125 a ton, compared to $90 this year and alfalfa was down from $132 a ton in 2015 to $105 this year.

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