Pasture and Forage Minute: Record-keeping for Taxes, Selecting Alfalfa Varieties

Calculator on top of tax paperwork
The last day for farmers and ranchers to file taxes is Friday, March 1, 2024.

Pasture and Forage Minute: Record-keeping for Taxes, Selecting Alfalfa Varieties

Record-keeping for Taxes

By Shannon Sand

It’s that time of year again. Time when we need to start preparing for taxes. Most people probably know that farmers and ranchers’ last day to file taxes is Friday, March 1. It’s important to make sure we have everything together. For example, if you paid an individual a total of $600 or more for rent, services or interest as part of your agricultural business, you may be required to report the payments with form 1099.

Now is a good time to start going through everything and making sure it is in order and noting receipts that are tax deductible like fertilizer, seed and fuel, to name a few. Throughout the year producers receive money, property and services from many places. Your records can help you identify the source of receipts, and this information is important to help separate farm and non-farm receipts and taxable from nontaxable incomes.

For example, buying fuel for a vehicle that is used to check pasture is tax deductible, as well as things like fencing materials, net wrap and repairs to equipment, to name a few. Preparing now can help speed up the tax preparation process. All this information is used to help prepare tax returns and just as important, can help producers monitor the progress of the operation. Records can show if the business is improving and can help us identify potential changes to make.

For additional information on record-keeping and taxes, you can visit the Center for Agricultural Profitability.

Selecting Alfalfa Varieties

By Jerry Volesky

Are you considering establishing a new alfalfa stand this coming spring? Site selection, proper weed management, good fertilization and seedbed preparation are all crucial steps for a successful stand. Whether it’s Roundup Ready or conventional alfalfa, selecting the right variety will dictate yield, quality, potential, degree of insect and disease resistance, as well as longevity of the stand.

Remember several important factors when choosing an alfalfa variety for a specific site. These include winter survival, fall dormancy, disease resistance, persistence and yield potential.

Winter survival and fall dormancy ratings are typically based on a numerical scale. For Nebraska, a winter survival score of three or four is desired, but a score of two may be suited for the northern most areas of the state. For fall dormancy, a score of three or four is desired for Nebraska.

For disease and insect pest management, a good strategy is to select varieties resistant to the most recurring pests and diseases specific to your location, especially those that have been problematic the last several years. Resistant varieties will save money and time by eliminating or drastically reducing the need for chemical control.

An alfalfa variety that can keep consistent yields up to its fourth and fifth year is considered a persistent variety. Persistence is closely related to winter hardiness, specific weather conditions, past management as well disease and insect pressure. Similarly, yield potential of alfalfa varieties is dictated by its genetics, but actual forage yield that each variety can achieve is limited by field conditions and management practices.

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