With all of the warm weather there have been questions about whether there is any correlation between that warm weather and the last spring freeze event. The quick answer is No.
Tom Priddy, UK meteorologist, ran some numbers from Paducah and Lexington on the warmest months of March over the past 100 years or so. He ranked the top 23 warmest and then identified when the final freeze event occurred. For Paducah, the average was April 12, which is four days after the median freeze date for Paducah. In Lexington, it was April 16 — one day after the median freeze date. For those 23 warmest March months, the range on final freeze was March 22 to May 27 in Paducah and April 3 to May 4 in Lexington. For Lexington, the last spring freeze always occurred later than March.
That information may have big implications for planting crops and gardens, but what about the early growth we’ve seen with our existing plants and forage crops? UK grain crops and horticulture specialists are saying that fruit trees and wheat are about three weeks ahead of schedule. It appears that many of our forage crops are similar.
If the current weather continues, the wheat crop could reach boot stage and be ready for silage or baleage in a couple of weeks. Alfalfa and other forage legumes and grasses are certainly far ahead in growth than in a more normal year. While we cannot predict what the weather will be over the next few weeks, we should take heed of what the crop is telling us now and be prepared for an early harvest.
Clover- and legume-induced bloat
This appears to be another great year for clover. Clover in excess of 50 percent of the pasture diet is a potential risk for bloat with our grazing cattle. There are a few strategies for managing bloat: