Why current weather conditions could have big impact on summer h - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Why current weather conditions could have big impact on summer harvest

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Chippewa Valley (WQOW) - The quick change in the weather could impact local farmers long past this week. 

Ag experts said farmers anticipate a January thaw each year, but they never know its full impact until April or May. 

One crop they watch especially closely for "winter kill" is alfalfa. They say if snow melts and re-freezes, and covers the crop with ice, alfalfa will quickly suffocate from lack of oxygen. 

"With the ice and snow as insulation on top of that ice, you can snuff out some areas, or an entire alfalfa field, depending on how significant that ice formation is," said Mark Hagedorn, agriculture agent with UW-Extension.

Ag experts said a spoiled alfalfa crop can set off a chain reaction for the rest of the year - like impacting a farmer's field rotation schedule or cutting into their herd's food supply.

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