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lower lignin alfalfa won't crimp?

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#1 lcjaynes

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 05:46 PM

Hey folks, I recently heard a producer say his lower lignin alfalfa wouldn't crimp but went through the rollers like a wet noodle. He was having a hard time drying it for baling. Anybody else seeing that? Is this a one-off thing (rollers not adjusted right?) or more common?

 

Lynn



#2 Jimmy Bartlett

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 07:33 PM

There might be something to this. My little hvx patch has fine weak stems and I thought that was because I broadcast seeded it thick (25lb/ac). The last cutting this year was not dry after four days. I attributed that to damp soil with heavy dews and thought I'd better tighten up the conditioner roll gap shims before next year. I asked the local hay expert what to do differently. He suggested that more mature plants would have less moisture in the stems and dry a little better.
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#3 Gearclash

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 10:49 PM

I would like to hear some more details about the crop.  What cutting was it?  RR ready?  It is pretty well known that later cuttings are fine and maybe don’t crimp so well.  The reason I bring the RR trait is that we have observed that RR alfalfa is a bugger to dry.  We think it is because they are using the latest and greatest genetic base alfalfa to add the RR gene to and for whatever reason dry down is not one of the traits they are selecting for.  It could be the thinking is that any more so much alfalfa gets chopped that full dry down is increasingly not a concern.

 

Edit to add, I would be interested in knowing what kind of conditioner was being used as well.


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#4 swmnhay

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 05:47 AM

I’ll know more next yr as I have 5 acre test strip of low lignin HiGest in the middle of a 50 acre field seeded this yr.

I agree that the plant breeders have bred for finer stems over the yrs.used to be some of the old varieties were quite stemy and they did dry faster.Sticks crimp and dry faster then vines!

Here I would also say the humidity is higher then it used to be and has changed the drying time a lot.
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#5 Jimmy Bartlett

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 08:28 AM

I would like to hear some more details about the crop. What cutting was it? RR ready? It is pretty well known that later cuttings are fine and maybe don’t crimp so well. The reason I bring the RR trait is that we have observed that RR alfalfa is a bugger to dry. We think it is because they are using the latest and greatest genetic base alfalfa to add the RR gene to and for whatever reason dry down is not one of the traits they are selecting for. It could be the thinking is that any more so much alfalfa gets chopped that full dry down is increasingly not a concern.

Edit to add, I would be interested in knowing what kind of conditioner was being used as well.


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#6 Jimmy Bartlett

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 08:39 AM

Mine is the RR hvx. Second cutting of seedling year was 18% moisture on day three with good drying weather. The third cutting was still around 30% on day four. I tedded the second day and raked the third day. The leaves dried fine but the stems never got there. It wasn't the best drying weather and we had a front coming in so I rolled it and delivered to a guy feeding steers. I mowed with an older 499 that has newer rolls. I haven't adjusted the roll gap yet.
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#7 Jimmy Bartlett

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 08:40 AM

I’ll know more next yr as I have 5 acre test strip of low lignin HiGest in the middle of a 50 acre field seeded this yr.

I agree that the plant breeders have bred for finer stems over the yrs.used to be some of the old varieties were quite stemy and they did dry faster.Sticks crimp and dry faster then vines!

Here I would also say the humidity is higher then it used to be and has changed the drying time a lot.



#8 Jimmy Bartlett

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 08:43 AM

Hey Cy, does the test strip have any resistance to leafhoppers? My little plot of HVX Megatron was like candy to the bugs

#9 Gearclash

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 10:02 AM

Mine is the RR hvx. Second cutting of seedling year was 18% moisture on day three with good drying weather. The third cutting was still around 30% on day four. I tedded the second day and raked the third day. The leaves dried fine but the stems never got there. It wasn't the best drying weather and we had a front coming in so I rolled it and delivered to a guy feeding steers. I mowed with an older 499 that has newer rolls. I haven't adjusted the roll gap yet.

With care you can reduce the gap to zero on those rolls.  New Holland does not recommend this but my brother did it successfully for some years with his newer NH machines.  When he switched to the Massey Twinmax conditioner we got better dry down than what NH was ever capable of.


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#10 swmnhay

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 10:27 AM

Hey Cy, does the test strip have any resistance to leafhoppers? My little plot of HVX Megatron was like candy to the bugs

No it doesn't.It's Alforex HiGest 360.The rest is Hi -Ton 469

 

Don't have to much issue here with LH.And if I do it tends to be a new seeding,it must taste better LOL.


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#11 Jimmy Bartlett

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 01:15 PM

Gearclash,

Thanks for the tip on roll clearance!

 

Cy, 

I hope that you're right about the LH only getting after it the seedling year.   Spraying insecticide for every 2nd, 3rd, and 4th cutting is a practice that i'd like to avoid!

 

Lynn,

Do you have any details about this other producer who had trouble drying the low lignin stems?    My rolls are certainly not as tight as Gearclash suggested.  That coarse roll gap along with the high humidity this late summer was probably why i had the issue with drydown. 

 

Regards,

Jimmy

 

 


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#12 lcjaynes

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 10:53 AM

I would like to hear some more details about the crop.  What cutting was it?  RR ready?  It is pretty well known that later cuttings are fine and maybe don’t crimp so well.  The reason I bring the RR trait is that we have observed that RR alfalfa is a bugger to dry.  We think it is because they are using the latest and greatest genetic base alfalfa to add the RR gene to and for whatever reason dry down is not one of the traits they are selecting for.  It could be the thinking is that any more so much alfalfa gets chopped that full dry down is increasingly not a concern.

 

Edit to add, I would be interested in knowing what kind of conditioner was being used as well.

I'm going to try to find out more about the crop and its particulars. Stand by.



#13 r82230

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 11:21 AM

Possibly just a dumb thought on my part, but from what I understand, low lignin alfalfa seems to have 'less' fiber.  My thinking is with less fiber, it is more likely to lodge (being there is less strength in the stem), therefore maybe 'too soft' to crimp, with current settings? 

 

The stem flexes as it is ran though the rolls, springs back to previous state and doesn't crack, hence learning curve on how to set conditioner could be in order.  Clear as mud maybe.

 

Larry 


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#14 Trillium Farm

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 10:20 AM

Possibly just a dumb thought on my part, but from what I understand, low lignin alfalfa seems to have 'less' fiber.  My thinking is with less fiber, it is more likely to lodge (being there is less strength in the stem), therefore maybe 'too soft' to crimp, with current settings? 

 

The stem flexes as it is ran though the rolls, springs back to previous state and doesn't crack, hence learning curve on how to set conditioner could be in order.  Clear as mud maybe.

 

Larry 

Exactly what I was thinking !!! Not enough air going through the windrow, as it is too flat.



#15 Gearclash

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 07:35 AM

Exactly what I was thinking !!! Not enough air going through the windrow, as it is too flat.

 

Yup, I can certainly agree with this being a possible problem.  Windrows being too flat to the ground to dry good is a problem we fight now with my brother’s Massey mower.  It does an awesome job of conditioning, but it takes the more of the backbone out of alfalfa so it tends to lay tighter on the ground, and won’t dry as well.  


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#16 swmnhay

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 07:38 AM

Yup, I can certainly agree with this being a possible problem.  Windrows being too flat to the ground to dry good is a problem we fight now with my brother’s Massey mower.  It does an awesome job of conditioning, but it takes the more of the backbone out of alfalfa so it tends to lay tighter on the ground, and won’t dry as well.

Just a thought but maybe a touch of orchardgrass in the mix would give it more stuble to keep higher off the ground?I know quite a few dairies put 1/2 lb or so of OG in when seeding
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#17 Trillium Farm

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 08:25 AM

Yup, I can certainly agree with this being a possible problem.  Windrows being too flat to the ground to dry good is a problem we fight now with my brother’s Massey mower.  It does an awesome job of conditioning, but it takes the more of the backbone out of alfalfa so it tends to lay tighter on the ground, and won’t dry as well.  

This is when leaving a stub 3 or 4" high becomes very important and also using a rotary rake.







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