Fall Harvesting Second-cut Alfalfa
Autumn is here and harvest is well underway for most areas. Harvest for second-cut hay has been behind this year due to a hot dry summer for most parts of Alberta, and there is still concern as to when to cut to prevent risk of winterkill.
Alfalfa typically requires a critical growing period between August 1st and the first killing frost, which normally occurs around September 15th. However, since we are well past that point, cutting can happen at any time, with little risk for winterkill. With the cold nights and cool days, and since many areas of Alberta have already received damaging and killing frosts, these plants have been forced into dormancy. Regrowth will have been limited or halted entirely. The plants will not be pulling stored root reserves for regrowth; instead, these stores will remain for regrowth next spring.