Optimize Management to Minimize Loss

In 2015, WinField, along with the University of Wisconsin’s Dr. Dan Undersander, conducted a study to determine the relationship between alfalfa plant height and yield among fields with good stem density. Results showed that 66 percent of the time, alfalfa plant height predicted yield.

Predictive Alfalfa Yield (PAY) Stick in alfalfa fieldThese findings led WinField to develop the Predictive Alfalfa Yield (PAY) Stick, which includes PEAQ measurements of relative forage value at late bud or early bloom, as well as traditional yardstick measurements.
The PAY Stick can be used to:

  • Measure the response of high-management alfalfa treatments by estimating yield per acre compared to non treated fields.
  • Determine which fields are the highest producing.
  • Compare yield between varieties.

Minimize leaf loss from field to storage and minimize shrinkage from storage to feed out.

  • Leaves are typically greater than 400 RFQ and stems can be less than 100 RFQ.
  • Mechanically condition the stems, especially for dry hay, but not for haylage. Stems have relatively low quality at bud stage and continue to decline with maturity. Use a wide swath; reach 50 percent moisture as fast as possible.
  • Use a forage inoculant for silage and a preservative acid for dry baled hay.
  • Minimize ash content at harvest. Ash provides no nutritional value.

Wheel traffic and compacted soil can reduce yields. Damage resulting from harvest traffic reduces crop regrowth and can cause yield loss.

  • Use GPS technology and the R7® Tool to help evaluate and develop a harvest and hauling pattern. Avoid random field travel during harvest.
  • Reduce wheel loads as much as possible and use wider equipment to minimize yield track. A 30 to 50 percent yield loss is possible in wheel tracks.
  • Minimize trips across the field; 80 to 90 percent of most fields are covered by tracks.
  • Remove the crop as soon as possible after each cutting. Delayed crop removal can result in a 3 percent yield loss per day on each following crop.