Winterkilled alfalfa is problem for dairy farmers 05 Jun 13

MANTORVILLE, Minn. (AP) – Thousands of dairy farmers in Minnesota and Wisconsin have an expensive problem. They’ve lost nearly 2 million acres of alfalfa to the long, icy winter.

The protein-rich alfalfa is an important source of feed for their cows, and it normally emerges after winter. Last year’s drought weakened the plants and the hard winter killed many of them, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Farmers normally can harvest three or four cuts of alfalfa in a normal summer. But this year farmers who have to replant will be lucky if they get one or two cuts.

Lisa Behnkin, a regional extension educator at the University of Minnesota Extension, says it’s put farmers in a dire state. They’re scrambling to buy feed from other states.

—Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mpr.org