Alfalfa has been a primary forage crop on Wisconsin dairy farms for many years. As we enter 2013 it is readily apparent that today’s alfalfa varieties are much different than those planted 15-20 years ago. Further, alfalfa is managed more intensively from a cutting frequency standpoint in an attempt to harvest forage of higher quality. In 2012 Wisconsin alfalfa was subject to a multitude of stresses, the consequences of which have yet to be seen. As we enter 2013 it seems appropriate to take inventory of the current state of alfalfa, looking both at factors that have been changing over the past 20 years and those that have impacted the crop and its management recently.
Soil Science Extension
University of Wisconsin Madison