What is happening with alfalfa production in South Dakota?
Many parts of South Dakota are experiencing warmer and drier conditions. The Northeast and West Region (Black Hills) of the State are lacking a lot of needed moisture going into the middle of the growing season. The Black Hills growing area has a large area of moderate to severe drought. Many producers across the region are concerned about their forage production amounts and market value this year. At this point farmers and ranchers in western South Dakota are having a hard time getting their first cutting of alfalfa, which can really have a significant impact in hay production for the Region.
Reports on alfalfa weevil larvae causing serious defoliation in the crop have been observed in eastern South Dakota. Alfalfa weevils can be a detrimental pest in alfalfa throughout the growing season so scouting should continue after the first and second cutting. Scouting for alfalfa weevils might not be easy as it takes time, but can prevent serious yield and quality losses if done on time. It is also very important to scout for potato leafhoppers, especially when we enter into the third cutting. Although the majority of commercial alfalfa varieties are resistant to potato leafhopper, it is always a good idea to scout and monitor populations after the second cutting.