An economic analysis of alfalfa harvest methods when infested with verticillium wilt
Verticillium wilt is a disease that negatively affects alfalfa fields throughout the northern United States. This disease is caused by the fungus Verticillium albo-atrum that, once introduced into alfalfa fields, spreads rapidly, becomes difficult to control, and causes substantial plant yield loss. This disease can be extremely costly for alfalfa hay producers, especially for producers where cool temperatures and relatively humid conditions exist. Little research has been conducted regarding the most economically viable management practices associated with infestation of this disease. This article analyzes the economic returns associated with different harvest practices (two cuttings, two cuttings plus fall grazing, three cuttings, and three cuttings plus fall grazing) given the presence of the disease within a stand. This study utilizes yield data from a study performed by the University of Wyoming Plant Sciences Department. Returns are evaluated using a net present value analysis. Results indicate the most economically viable practice is the two cuttings plus fall grazing.