Alfalfa weevil concerns following the mild winter

The winter’s mild temperatures have spurred a green-up of pastures, but it could lead to other challenges.

Tony Hancock is with the Missouri Department of Agriculture. “I did hear a few reports of some weevils in the alfalfa late last week before this cold spell,” he says. “Hopefully, that slowed them down a little bit, but I would guess there’s probably a lot of guys that are going to have to spray twice this year before we’re ready to cut that first cutting of alfalfa.”  Over-wintering adult alfalfa weevils begin to lay eggs when temperatures exceed 48 degrees, and it is important to scout alfalfa early and consistently.

Despite the early green-up, he tells Brownfield demand for hay has held relatively steady.  “There’s still some guys feeding out there, of course, trying to keep from getting pastures over-grazed,” he says.  “We’ve got a little feeding going on. But of course, those cows would rather eat that green grass sprouting up everywhere than much hay.”

But Hancock says the market has weakened in recent weeks. “As we get closer and closer to full turnout and grazing, we expect that market to drop a little bit,” he says. “But of course, there’s no oversupply of hay or carry-over that’s likely to be sitting out there.”

While recent precipitation has helped, nearly 90% of the state is listed from abnormally dry to severe drought.

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