Forage Report – June 28, 2012

First-cut hay is being finished while second-cut haylage is complete on some dairy farms. With reduced yields and acres, hay inventories are limited in some areas and record high prices are being reported.

There are still reports of armyworm, but it is declining. There were some reports of European skipper feeding damage to forage grasses, which were confused with armyworm.

Potato leafhoppers (PLH) have arrived and are being reported at above threshold levels in some areas. PLH can dramatically reduce alfalfa yield and forage quality. New seedings are very susceptible and can be permanently damaged. Adults are 1/8th of an inch long, lime-green and wedge-shaped. They insert a stylet into a leaf midrib and inject a toxin that results in a wedge-shaped “hopperburn”.   Damage is often confused with moisture or heat stress. Reduced stem elongation, root development and stand vigour results in stunting and slow regrowth. Once hopperburn is observed, the damage is done and it is too late for control, so scout and be prepared to spray. Farmers in the high risk areas north of Lake Erie should consider growing PLH resistant alfalfa varieties.