Monday’s crop progress report for Nebraska showed the first cutting of alfalfa was 58 percent complete as of Sunday.
That’s over three weeks ahead of normal.
Alfalfa grower Kyle Lechtenberg of Spencer in north-central Nebraska tells Brownfield they’re just wrapping up their first cutting.
“We’re very fortunate on first cutting to get really high quality hay,” says Lechtenberg, “but we’re sitting here wondering if we’re going to get a second and third cutting just because of the rain situation—and the higher temperatures this spring have really moved things faster than what we would expect.”
Lechtenberg, who is a member of the board of the Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association, says strong prices seem to be fueling renewed interest in growing alfalfa. He says on a recent trip to Omaha, he was encouraged by the number of newly-seeded alfalfa fields he saw along the way.
“I think last year did kind of spark more interest in alfalfa. Those prices kind of adjusted back to where they’re very competitive with grain,” he says. “That was nice to see because I think a year and a half ago, people were wondering if there was ever going to be a market for it again.
“I think the last year has really turned that around.”
Alfalfa acres in Nebraska have dropped significantly in recent years as farmers took advantage of strong corn and soybean prices.