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Maximising Forage in Winter Injured/Killed Stands

08 May 2013

US - An 'unusual' amount of winter injury and winter-kill of alfalfa stands occurred in south central and southern Minnesota, according to reports.

Although little is known about where injury to alfalfa occurred across Minnesota, they suggest a need for producers to check on stands and evaluate them for potential winter injury.

Several environmental factors likely interacted to stress alfalfa and cause winter damage, including:

  • A very dry fall and early winter that may have prevented alfalfa from accumulating adequate root reserves to survive the unusually long dormant period;
  • Periods during the winter without snow cover which typically provides insulation against low air temperatures;
  • ice sheeting due to snow melting and rainfall in January/February; and
  • The long periods of snow cover and low temperature that prevented spring alfalfa regrowth when reserves were low.

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