Alfalfa Management

by Joe | Published May 20, 2016

Protect your alfalfa crop and increase yields!
A proper management program will help protect your alfalfa stand and increase your yields.
For seeding a field to alfalfa, a soil sample is the first step. The soil should be corrected to a 6.8 PH using ag lime. The phosphorous level should be over 20 PPM. Potassium levels should be over 200 PPM.
Plant 15 pounds of a good quality seed per acre. Roundup Ready helps with grass control in the new and existing stand.
On seedling alfalfa, use glyphosate to control grass and small weeds if you have planted RR alfalfa. If you have conventional alfalfa, use Clethodim to control grass in the alfalfa. On established stands of alfalfa, it is very important to control grass, also. Typically, spraying after the removal of the second cutting will help greatly with summer grass control, using glyphosate if RR alfalfa, or Clethodim if conventional alfalfa.
Good crops of alfalfa remove large amounts of nutrients. During the dormant season, apply 100# 11-52-0 and 50# 0-0-60 to keep good levels in your fields. Gypsum can be used at a rate of 1000#/acre. TSypsum provides a lot of calcium and sulfur to the crop and has been really helped production.
Weevil control starts in the fall. Around November 5, spray the alfalfa with 16 oz Chlorpyrifos and 2 oz Lambda. This will reduce the weevil pressure in the spring. In the spring, usually when the redbud trees are in full bloom, spray again with 16 oz Chlorpyrifos and 2 oz Lambda. Proper management dictates scouting in the spring to monitor weevil pressure and then spraying at the correct time.
Thin stands of alfalfa should be destroyed and new fields planted. Thin stands produce a lot of grass with the remaining alfalfa plants under a lot of weevil pressure.

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