Written by Karla Hernandez (former SDSU Extension Forages Field Specialist).
Similar to last year, many parts of South Dakota are experiencing dry conditions. Many areas have gotten some moisture, but this has not been enough to make a difference in crop production. The Western Region of the state is lacking a lot of needed moisture. Producers across the region are concerned about their forage production and market value this year.
Reports of alfalfa weevil, potato leafhoppers, and grasshoppers are causing serious problems in alfalfa in eastern South Dakota. These pests can be detrimental throughout the growing season, so scouting should continue after the first and second cutting. It is always important to scout and monitor pest populations as they will take quality and tonnage production if not treated on time.
As every growing season brings new challenges it is important to know what options we have. Cover crops and annual forages can be an excellent alternative when looking for high tonnage and forage quality in a short period of time. View Annual Forages: General Overview for alternatives that producers can use if the weather does not improve and forage production turns out to be limited.