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New PRO-DAIRY fact sheet

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  • Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • PRO-DAIRY
  • Animal Science

This fact sheet authored by PRO-DAIRY's Joe Lawrence, Forage Systems, and Kirsten Workman, Nutrient Management, was shared in the June 2023 PRO-DAIRY e-Leader newsletter, distributed to an email list of over 8,000 dairy producers, agriservice, and legislators.

The 2023 season has been a roller coaster for producing dairy quality hay crops across NYS. With widespread dry conditions throughout much of May, many experienced below average first cutting yields, though there were pockets with reports of average or better yields. There was better news on the quality front, with reports of average to above average forage quality for timely harvested first cutting being fairly uniform across the state.


With continued dry conditions through May for many, second cutting presented more frustration in decision making as yields were quite low but the crop had stagnated and was losing quality, and decisions about second cutting timing were then interrupted by rain. And while the rain was much needed, the patterns in which it was forecasted and came, created a great deal of uncertainty around windows of opportunity for cutting.


While there are always unknowns, guidelines were to “cut your losses” and harvest the second cutting to allow for the third cut regrowth to capitalize on the new moisture, as the rain would benefit the regrowth more than the stagnant second cutting. At this point, hopefully most have had an opportunity to harvest second cutting. If not, it should be taken as soon as possible.


While yields varied for both first and second cutting, for many the combined total yield is lower than desired and presents concerns about adequate inventories. With potential challenges to inventories,
it is worth thinking about strategies for the remainder of the season.

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