Several environmental factors likely interacted to stress alfalfa and cause winter damage, including:
- a very dry fall and early winter that may have prevented alfalfa from accumulating adequate root reserves to survive the unusually long dormant period;
- periods during the winter without snow cover which typically provides insulation against low air temperatures;
- ice sheeting due to snow melting and rainfall in January/February; and
- the long periods of snow cover and low temperature that prevented spring alfalfa regrowth when reserves were low.
Source: David Nicolai, Extension educator in crops, U of M Extension Regional Center, Farmington, 651-480-7732, firstname.lastname@example.org
Article contributions: Dr. Dan Undersander, Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin