Michigan State University Spring 2012 brought some unexpected weather that may lead to forage harvesting challenges for Michigan farmers. That's why MSU Extension educators and specialists have joined forces to study the issue and offer online resources to help farmers make harvest decisions that will ensure optimum forage quality for livestock diets.

The Alfalfa Field Project facilitated by MSU Extension addresses the effects of Michigan's unusual spring weather this year on the growth and quality of the alfalfa crop.

The findings are now being posted on the MSU Extension News site at msue.msu.edu. Just search "alfalfa" to be directed to helpful articles on the ideal timing to harvest first-cutting alfalfa by region, dealing with winter annual weeds and spring black stem, as well as any issues that may pop up throughout the summer.

"We had a lot of producers asking about when to harvest because of inconsistent temperatures. We saw that as an opportunity to help," said Faith Cullens, MSU Extension educator. "By the first week of June, most Michigan farmers will have harvested their first-cutting hay, and we will continue to post the results of our project online until then. As the summer progresses, if any other issues come up, we will continue to share our findings on the website."

Information is provided by a group of campus and field experts in forage production and animal nutrition who work with hay and livestock producers on a daily basis. For more information, contact:

Mike Allen, Ingham County: 517-432-1386.

Faith Cullens, Clinton County: 989-224-5240.

Phil Kaatz, Lapeer County: 810-667-0341.

Kathy Lee, Missaukee County: 231-839-4667.

Jerry Lindquist, Osceola County: 231-832-6139.

Roberta Osborne, Branch County: 517-279-4311.

MSU Extension News features helpful articles about various topics submitted by MSU Extension experts throughout the state.