Keith Johnson

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Night time and early morning temperatures across Indiana dipped to lows (less than 28oF) on Wednesday and Thursday that may be concerning to alfalfa producers. Damage may be little to none, or possibly severe. Minimal damage may appear as new leaves emerging next week being bleached. Whereas, severe damage will have the plant losing its upright integrity and appearing water soaked (mushy). New seedlings will take on a water soaked appearance if freeze damaged. Variation in response could be extreme across a field due to differences in temperature because of topography. Older stands that were well managed last year will have a greater chance of survival. Please contact me at if damage is severe because of the freeze events.    

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Many alfalfa fields in northeastern Indiana suffered serious winter injury. Statewide, alfalfa weevil damage was more common this year and control was difficult because of persistent spring rain. Timely forage seeding of perennial legumes and cool-season grasses this spring was not possible because of excessive rain. Continued rainfall has limited the ability to make hay on a timely fashion and forage quality will be compromised. A result of all of these concerns is that forage supplies in the Midwest USA will likely be reduced in 2019. Producers need to carefully consider all options to meet forage needs if winter injury and waterlogged soils reduced forage yield and quality.