Determining the Extent of Alfalfa Winter Kill | News | Grain-Forage | Rupp Seeds

Determining the Extent of Alfalfa Winter Kill

May 15, 2020 | By Rupp Seeds

Screen shot image of SeedSCOOP publication discussing determining the extent of alfalfa winter kill.

Even during mild winters, alfalfa winter kill still may occur in some areas. Sustained temperatures of just 0 to 15° F can be lethal to the plant. The influence of temperature can be determined by many variables, snow cover, soil type, and of course, the winter hardiness of the variety. If the plant survived the winter temperatures, alternating freezing and thawing in wet soils can cause heaving and expose the root and crown to freezing temperature and may break the crown, and freezing rain or ice covering the plant to the extent that it cannot respire can also result in plant death. Finally, the summer stresses, such as drought and compaction, and not leaving enough residue can also play a role in winter survival. Regardless of the cause of the stand loss, the stand needs to be assessed and a decision must be made if  it should be kept or not.

Learn how and when to examine your stand and what the yield potential would be in this issue of SeedScoop.

Determining the Extent of Alfalfa Winter Kill