Fond du Lac County Alfalfa Forage Quality Using PEAQ Readings & Scissor Cuts

Determining when to cut first-crop alfalfa is often difficult because alfalfa quality, relative to flowering stage, varies greatly. To help with this dilemma, agronomists at the University of Wisconsin – Madison developed the Predictive Equations for Alfalfa Quality (PEAQ) method which predicts alfalfa’s Relative Feed Value (RFV) at the time of cutting.

The Fond du Lac County Forage Council will be evaluating forage conditions by collecting biweekly PEAQ readings (days to be determined) starting Monday, May 18, 2020. These PEAQ readings will be reported and available on the Fond du Lac County UW-Extension website.

The PEAQ Stick Method measures standing alfalfa’s forage quality before it is harvested by measuring alfalfa height using a wooden PEAQ measuring stick and an equation to determine alfalfa’s RFV. The RFV values are calculated based on the alfalfa plant’s maturity stage.

NOTE: This procedure estimates alfalfa RFV content of the standing crop. It does not account for changes in quality due to wilting, harvesting, and storage. These factors may further lower RFV content by 10 to 25 units, assuming good wilting and harvesting conditions. This procedure is most accurate for good stands of pure alfalfa with healthy growth.


June 8, 2020

June 2, 2020

Location Scissors Cut Analysis Field PEAQ Estimate
CP ADF NDF RFV Maturity Height RFV
Malone – Low Lignin 23.2 29.6 27.6 163 Bud 26 172
Byron 18.1 35.2 44.8 128 Bud 28.5 166
Brownsville – Untreated 25.2 28.5 35.9 173 Bud 25 176
Brownsville – Fungicide 24.5 30.3 37.8 161 Bud 25 176
Ripon 26.3 28 35.5 176 Bud 27 168
Ripon 27.5 27.4 35.1 179 Bud 27.5 166
Mt Calvary _____________   NA ______________ Bud 26.5 170
Mt Calvary _____________   NA ______________ Bud 28.5 162
Mt Calvary _____________   NA ______________ Bud 26.5 170
Eden _____________   NA ______________ Bud 26.5 170
Campbellsport – 1 _____________   NA ______________ Bud 25 177
Campbellsport – 2 _____________   NA ______________ Bud 25 177
Campbellsport – 3 _____________   NA ______________ Bud 29 160
Pickett _____________   NA ______________ Bud 27 168
Pickett _____________   NA ______________ Bud 29.5 158
Pickett _____________   NA ______________ Bud 27 165

May 26, 2020

Location Scissors Cut Analysis Field PEAQ Estimate
CP ADF NDF RFV Maturity Height RFV
Malone – Low Lignin 27.6 29.7 36.6 167 Bud 23.5 183
Byron 29.3 27.2 34.2 184 Bud 22 190
Brownsville – Untreated 27.6 28.7 35.5 175 Bud 22 190
Brownsville – Fungicide 26.2 28.4 37.2 167 Bud 22 190
Ripon 26.2 27.4 35.9  175 Bud 20 201
Ripon 22.3 30.5 39.4  154 Bud 20 201
Mt Calvary _____________   NA ______________ Bud 19.5 202
Mt Calvary _____________   NA ______________ Bud 20 200
Mt Calvary _____________   NA ______________ Bud 19 208
Eden _____________   NA ______________ Bud 20.5 198
Campbellsport – 1 _____________   NA ______________ Bud 20 200
Campbellsport – 2 _____________   NA ______________ Bud 20.5 198
Campbellsport – 3 _____________   NA ______________ Bud 20 200
Theresa _____________   NA ______________ Bud 23.5 182
Rosendale _____________   NA ______________ Bud 24 180

May 18, 2020

Location Scissors Cut Analysis Field PEAQ Estimate
CP ADF NDF RFV Maturity Height RFV
Malone – Low Lignin 27.57 26.8 33.64 188 Vegetative 12 270
Byron 23.05 28.61 35.87 173 Vegetative 11.5 268
Brownsville – Untreated 26.82 28.44 31.08 176 Vegetative 12 270
Brownsville – Fungicide 29.66 24.85 31.54 205 Vegetative 12 270
Mt Calvary _____________   NA ______________ Vegetative 12 268
Mt Calvary _____________   NA ______________ Vegetative 12 270
Mt Calvary _____________   NA ______________ Vegetative 10 NA
Eden _____________   NA ______________ Vegetative 11.5 272
Campbellsport – 1 _____________   NA ______________ Vegetative 12 270
Campbellsport – 2 _____________   NA ______________ Vegetative 12 270
Campbellsport – 3 _____________   NA ______________ Vegetative 12 270
Theresa _____________   NA ______________ Vegetative 13 268
Rosendale _____________   NA ______________ Vegetative 13.5 255

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