LAND OF LIQUID: Last NCRS Alfalfa Plot Harvest for 2017

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  • September 17, 2017

So last Thursday we took the fourth harvest of our alfalfa plots.   These are short plots where there are evaluations of several AgroLiquid treatments, some dry treatments and a combination, all replicated for scientific methodology of course. For this type of harvest we use a leaf flail mower gatherer.  It cuts and blows the alfalfa up into the machine.  It works pretty well.  Here Phil cuts one of the plots.  He goes up and back for the plot sample.

 Jeff spreads a tarp to collect the cut alfalfa.

 Dump it on the tarp….

 …and put it up on the scale to get the weight.  We also collect two sub-samples: one for % moisture/dry matter determination, and another to send to a lab for quality analysis.  It was a nice day and went pretty quick.

Here is the aftermath.  Earlier in the year, Zouheir would would do something new.  He would collect alfalfa from the uncut middle section and extract alfalfa sap for analysis to see if this could be a useful analysis tool for measurement of nutrient content. Haven’t seen the summary yet.

Well I have a summer’s worth of harvest and lab data to summarize.  Better get busy.  We have employed several different plot methods for alfalfa over the many years of the NCRS.  This method works pretty well and doesn’t take up a lot of room.  Years ago we had large plots and weighed small bales.  Not doing that again.  We have also made large round bales and weighed them on this same trailer scale.  That wasn’t bad, but had to make arrangements for the bales.  One year we used a university method of randomly throwing a hula hoop in a plot and clipping the alfalfa inside the hoop.  This was repeated several times per plot.  Well I thought that was too small of an area and took too long to hand cut all the alfalfa.  And the workers would keep playing hula hoop, so that was no good.  But the leaf sucker method is quick since you just cut and weigh.  This is the last year for this alfalfa field as it is pretty old now.  We have a new field planted nearby that will have our plots for next year. So place your vote for leaf sucker or round bales.  Hula hoop votes will not be counted.

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