Hilgardia
Hilgardia
Hilgardia
University of California
Hilgardia

Proper harvest timing can improve returns for intermountain alfalfa

Authors

Steve B. Orloff
Daniel H. Putnam
Steve C. Blank

Publication Information

Hilgardia 56(6):202-208. DOI:10.3733/ca.v056n06p202. November 2002.

PDF of full article, Cite this article

Abstract

Harvest timing has a profound effect on the yield and forage quality of alfalfa hay. Early harvest results in low yield but high forage quality and price, while delayed harvest increases yield but reduces forage quality and price. Since gross revenue is a function of both yield and price, it is important for growers to select the optimum cutting schedule. We quantified a biological relationship among yield, forage quality and day of harvest, using the results from 2 years of field studies at locations in the intermountain alfalfa production region of California. An economic analysis, including a decision model, was developed to enable producers to assess current market conditions and seasonal effects, and in turn select the most profitable harvest timing. Our analysis demonstrated that no single harvest strategy is always best. The most profitable approach depends on the rate of change in yield and quality for that season and the current price differential between the quality market classes for alfalfa hay.

References

Blank SC, Orloff SB, Putnam DH. Sequential stochastic production decisions for a perennial crop: The yield/quality tradeoff for alfalfa hay. J Agric Res Econ. 2001. 26(1):195-211.

Konyar K, Knapp K. Demand for Alfalfa Hay in California. UC Giannini Foundation Research Rep No 333 1986. p.36.

Marble VL. Effect of harvest frequencies and varieties on yield, quality, and stand life. 1980. pp.22-38. Proc 10th Calif Alfalfa Symp, Dec 10-11, Visalia, CA

Orloff SB, Putnam DH. UC Intermountain Alfalfa Quality Prediction Stick: How to Predict the Quality of a Standing Alfalfa Crop. 2001. UC Cooperative Extension. http://alfalfa.ucdavis.edu/SUBPAGES/Stick/StickPage.htm

Orloff S, Putnam D, Blank S. 2002. Proper harvest timing can improve returns for intermountain alfalfa. Hilgardia 56(6):202-208. DOI:10.3733/ca.v056n06p202
Webmaster Email: wsuckow@ucanr.edu