|Harvesting alfalfa will disturb the habitat for lygus bugs.|
By leaving uncut strips of alfalfa during harvest, lygus will flock to this habitat and stay there until the next irrigation cycle. The bugs will then go back to the larger alfalfa field as the plants start growing again.
|A grower leaves uncut strip of alfalfa grown adjacent to cotton.|
Here are strip-cutting tips from UC IPM:
- Leave a 10- to 14-foot wide uncut strip adjacent to every other irrigation border (or levee). At the subsequent harvest, these strips are cut with half of the alfalfa strip going into one windrow and the other half going into a second windrow to give a 50:50 blend of new and old hay. These windrows are then each combined with a windrow of newly cut (100 percent new) alfalfa making a blend of 25 percent old hay and 75 percent new hay. This technique minimizes quality problems from the older hay. Specific blends of old and new hay have been found not to significantly impact forage quality compared to 100 percent new growth alfalfa in most cases.
- At the following cutting, uncut strips are left adjacent to the alternate irrigation borders. As an alternative, uncut strips of alfalfa may be left adjacent to the crop to be protected, such as cotton or dry beans.