My dairy friends really like to work. Many still have corn and bean crops to look after. In their spare time this week they can harvest first cut haylage too. If you depend on a 4 cut system, it is time to go. The alfalfa crop is almost ready.
It is a tough to find many buds yet, but they are close. Bud formation is often delayed with cloudy wet weather. The forage experts, which I am not one, claim optimum feed value of first cut alfalfa is at the bud stage. But the trade off is if you wait too long it can mess up the 4 cut plan. If you are a 3 cutter, then you have the option to wait a bit and let the alfalfa build more yield.
According to Robert Larmer, one of the better forage experts, we can expect feed value of this first cut to be a bit lower than average because of the lack of bright sunshine. Sunshine is very important for building energy in alfalfa and especially in grasses.
One last positive thought. There is lots of moisture to support a strong 2nd cut.
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