OMAFRA Report: 2021 Forage Seasonal Summary

A weekly report prepared by the staff of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). If you require further information, regarding this report, call the Elora Resource Centre at 519-846-0941. Office hours: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. For technical information, call the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or visit the OMAFRA website:

January 7, 2022
2021 Forage Seasonal Summary

Overall, winter 2020/2021 was mild, with below average snow cover. Much of the province experienced a big thaw in March, losing most, if not all, snow cover. The rest of the month was dry. There was a good two-week window to frost seed in the middle of March. Some cover crop oats in southwestern Ontario survived the winter. Alfalfa winterkill was minimal.

Hay and Haylage – Many producers focused on forage fertility this year to improve hay yields and inventories. Dry spring conditions allowed for early seeding, but late frosts may have challenged some of those young plants.

Alfalfa weevil was found in the second week of May in the southwest and the third week of May in central and eastern Ontario.

First cut hay on dairy farms began in earnest the Victoria Day weekend in southwestern and eastern Ontario, and the last week of May in central Ontario. While many agronomists commented that the crop was shorter than expected, yields tended to be average or above average due to dense stands (high plant populations) that overwintered well.

Regrowth after first cut was slow in most areas due to dry weather. Alfalfa weevil pressure continued to be high on second cut. The hot, dry weather allowed the weevils to get ahead of the pathogenic fungus that usually controls the weevil population. Much-needed rain began to fall in central and eastern Ontario in late June, but adverse dry weather affected the northwest for the remainder of the growing season.

Potato leafhopper damage was prevalent again this year. Producers should be proactively scouting alfalfa starting late May. Fall armyworm caught everyone off-guard with a second generation that arrived in August and caused crop damage during the warm fall weather