The 3rd cutting Alfalfa harvest is finished up in the South Columbia Basin. With the positive turn in the weather over the last month, most will be taking a 4th cutting. The warm and dry weather are forecasted to continue through September and will allow growers to put up the best possible 4th cutting Alfalfa. Harvest should begin in the next 7-10 days.
Slightly behind the South Basin, the 3rd cutting Alfalfa harvest has just begun in the North Basin. The field will be full of activity as growers make a strong push to complete the harvest over the next two weeks. Growers will be focused on maximizing the tonnage from 3rd cutting as most will be unable to take a 4th cutting of Alfalfa this year.
With a tough growing year wrapping up, we estimate that there will only be about 10% of this year’s harvest that will be 3-tie material. About half of the 3-tie will be premium grade. We will see short supplies of 3-tie Alfalfa across the Basin. As growers have reset their cutting cycles to increase tonnage instead of quality and untimely rains fell over 2nd cutting, there will be less premium grade than previous years.
A little over half of Timothy hay growers have finished swathing their hay over the weekend. Strong winds have helped to keep the dew off the windrows and we are seeing some good quality from 2nd cutting. Growers are hopeful that the later fields will be able to produce some additional premium grade Timothy.
The strong winds have caused some problems for Sudan growers as they get their harvest in. Over half of the fields have been cut and baled in the Kittitas Valley. The color is good and the stem size is finer than previous years. If the weather remains consistent we should continue to see good quality Sudan this year.