More than 150-thousand acres of alfalfa damaged
Many dairy farmers in the upper Midwest have been forced to replant thousands of acres of alfalfa because of winterkill. University of Wisconsin forage specialist Dr. Dan Undersander says, “Start adding up the areas together, we probably lost about 150-thousand acres altogether.”
Undersander tells Brownfield the lack of snow cover and the repeated thawing and refreezing caused significant damage. “Northeastern Wisconsin probably lost 75 to 100-thousand acres. Southwestern Wisconsin and into Iowa lost something around 15 or 20 thousand acres. Then, we had a similar loss up in central Minnesota and then also a significant loss in an area just west of Sioux Falls (South Dakota).
He says there was a pattern for the damaged alfalfa stands. “Those fields from which a late fall cutting was taken were hit much more severely than fields that were not harvested late in the fall.”
Undersander says not every damaged field will be plowed, as those farmers will try to get as much yield as possible from remaining plants.
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