Cutting schedules and stands

C. C. Sheaffer, G. D. Lacefield, V. L. Marble

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

19 Scopus citations


Alfalfa cutting management research and recommendations have changed dramatically since the early 1900s. Cutting schedules have been based on stage of growth, fixed time intervals, or crown shoot development. The effect of a particular harvest system on seasonal alfalfa forage yield, forage quality, and stand persistence is related to the morphological development of the crop at each harvest within the system. Many western producers harvesting 6 to 10 times per season use a fixed time interval to schedule cutting during warmer months and rely on crop development to schedule cuttings during cooler months. A harvest schedule based on plant maturity depends on the stage of plant development to indicate the proper time to cut and the number of cuttings possible in a season. Yields of herbage decrease as cutting frequency or stubble height increase. Decline in alfalfa stand density has little direct effect on total forage quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAlfalfa and Alfalfa Improvement
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9780891182221
ISBN (Print)9780891180944
StatePublished - Oct 26 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© ASA-CSSA-SSSA, 677 South Segoe Road, Madison, WI 53711, USA.


  • Alfalfa cutting management
  • Alfalfa stand density
  • Crop development
  • Crown shoot development
  • Cutting schedule
  • Developmental stages
  • Fixed interval harvesting


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