Fall management of alfalfa is one of the few controllable factors that will potentially influence the health of your alfalfa stand next year.
The recent damp weather has prevented a timely last cutting of hay across much of Ohio. So is it safe to cut a hay stand now? The answer depends on how much alfalfa and red clover is in the stand, how important it is to you to keep the legumes in that stand, and how badly you need or want the extra hay. For pure grass stands, fall cutting concerns are much less of an issue.
Cutting tall legumes like alfalfa and red clover between now and mid October will carry some risk to the health of the stand. Legume plants are actively storing energy reserves in the taproots during this fall period that are used for winter survival and regrowth next spring. Cutting now will interrupt that storage process because the plant will use reserves for late fall regrowth, and there won't be enough time to replenish them before a killing frost.