The snow is gone and fields are starting to green. Spring 2009 we had cold nights and warm days. This caused the sap to run well in 2009. That weather also caused spring kill in many forage fields in 2009.
The sap ran well this spring also. But during the first run this year there was enough snow on the ground to minimize forage heaving.
That does not mean your alfalfa survived. Winter and spring 2009 were hard on forage stands. Some fields killed out but many others suffered some damage. The roots that were suffering last year may not have made it through this winter. The only way to find out is to check those fields now while you can still do something about them.
Fields that have suffered more than 20 per cent winter kill should be turned under. If you have areas in fields where the forage has thinned you can thicken those stands.
Top dressing with some red clover (five to six pounds per acre) and timothy (one to two pounds per acre) will help fill in thin spots. If you want a bit more bulk in your forage, consider planting oats in those thin spots as well. The oats should be drilled in.
Last year many growers did not check their fields until mid-May. By that time it was too late to do anything. Better to check and take action now than six weeks from now. BF