Many livestock producers are questioning whether their alfalfa stands are at risk of winterkill. In early January, many fields were covered with 1-2 in. of solid ice, which may raise the risk of winterkill in alfalfa.
But snow cover and continued cold probably won't worsen winterkill and may actually protect alfalfa. So the answer is: "It depends."
How old is the stand? Alfalfa stands often become thin and less productive after the third year. Harsh winter conditions can exacerbate this decline with advancing age.
Plants that are 1-2 years old are generally more stress-tolerant than older ones because they've been exposed to less physical damage and disease.