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The points of contact between Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service and the grower & business communities are the NJ County Agricultural Agents. The agents are a tremendous source of information for both new and experienced growers.
Visit your local county extension office.

Monday, May 16, 2011

First Cutting Hay

Past statistics suggest the "average" NJ farmer cuts hay about 2 weeks too late. Cutting date, and more specifically, stage of growth is the single most important factor affecting the nutritional value of hay. Alfalfa (and in mixtures with grass) should be cut at full bud to 1/10th bloom, clovers at 1/4 to 1/2 bloom and grasses as heads are emerging (which many are in right now). For clarity, 1/10th bloom is when just 1 out of every 10 stems has just one flower showing which is something you can't see by driving past the field. So when it stops raining this week it's likely time to start (and/or continue) harvesting hay in most of the state. Remember, there are many ways to make poor quality hay, but starting on time is the best way to have a chance to make great quality hay!

Zane Helsel

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