Is the Alfalfa Ready to Cut? Tips for Using a PEAQ Stick to Estimate RFV

Determining when to take first, second and subsequent cuts of alfalfa is part science and part art. What’s more, relative feed value and yield tend to peak at early bud then part ways soon after. For the beef producers in the crowd, early flowering is going to offer biggest yields with good quality, but our dairy friends will head in a bit sooner. If only there was a quick and easy way to match crop stage with relative feed value that didn’t require waiting on a lab for results! Well, there is. It’s called the PEAQ stick — a cheap, effective way to estimate alfalfa relative field value (RFV) quickly and in the field.

In this interview, John McGregor, extension specialist with the Manitoba Forage Council, shows us how the PEAQ stick works, why it’s a decent best guess but why it doesn’t eliminate the need for a feed test. McGregor also explains the few instances that farmers will have to keep in mind the may sway the stick’s predicted RFV too low or too high. The good news is the PEAQ stick works just as well at first cut as it does at second, third and onward from there.

Interested in a stick? Contact Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives or your local ag rep.

If you cannot see the embedded video, click here.

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