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We've got some hay land that has produced very good alfalfa growth after the first cut in SW Sask. I've heard 'rules of thumb' about not cutting 2nd cut after Aug 15, Sept 1, Sept 15, etc... for fear of reducing next years hay crop but I have only heard these rules from a couple different people. We have wrapped up our combining and there is a chance to cut a second cut hay on about 75% of our hayland but I am wondering if its worth it?

When you do guys think its too late to cut second cut in SW sask? Is there actually a risk to next years first cut if we were to cut and bale hay in late September?
 

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Around here it's all been cut because we got frosted a couple weeks ago. I'd cut it. You can do everything right and alfalfa will winterkill. You can do everything wrong and have a perfect stand.
 

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You can do everything right and alfalfa will winterkill. You can do everything wrong and have a perfect stand.
I agree....just cut it and dont worry about it. We always heard you shouldnt cut in Sept but everyone else does it so we do too. Been doing for a few years and no probs yet. We havent had a killing frost yet and we have 240ac of 3rd cut just cut this week....another 160 to go but it was sprayed out with Roundup.
 

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Around here it's all been cut because we got frosted a couple weeks ago. I'd cut it. You can do everything right and alfalfa will winterkill. You can do everything wrong and have a perfect stand.
I've never done it either. There are so many conflicting opinions we have gone ahead and started cutting anyway. Just in case only 1/3 will be cut, that's all the extra feed we need.
 

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You never want to cut alfalfa before it freezes in the fall unless you cut it earlier enough it can grow back at least a few inches of growth before the killing frosts come along. If you cut it before the killing frost and repeated frosts are occurring, the root system does not sense the frost and continues to use up root energy reserves trying to grow the plant. Depleted reserves greatly contribute to winter kill. Not sure if the Alberta Forage Manual is still available, this is old technology but used to be explained quite well in that book.

Calender dates mean squat, late in season a killing frost is what you wait for. Then give it about three days for the roots to get the message, similar to how you wait for Round up to work, then cut it. If you can't cut it quick enough, then it is best to cut it with a machine without crimper rolls as once the leaves begin to turn white the plant will shed it's leaves easily.
 

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Biggest problem with cutting this late is it takes forever to cure and dry.
 

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Don't cut it it will die if you are in sw sask we usually get really cold temps with out much snow and it will winter kill been there done that. You can wait till it's done for the year then cut it a little higher than normal or graze it. We graze all our close hay fields in November without any harm and they usually get us through till Christmas time depending how much regrowth there is.
 

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It is better to cut it later rather than earlier. Might even be best after a hard frost. Like said before wait about 3 days and have at her. Also after a hard killing frost it will dry faster than if it was cut before the frost. But don't wait too long or you will end up with a bunch of sticks. There are people who say don't cut so long before the frost. Some areas have a predictable killing frost every year. Here in central Alberta I have seen frost anywhere from mid august to early October. So its hard to know. Also alfalfa can take a frost down to about -5C with out too much damage.
 
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