Alfalfa Management Tactics

Apr 02, 2021

5 Preseason Tips for a Robust Alfalfa Crop
  1. Select the right alfalfa varieties for your acres, such as HVX MegaTron, RR AphaTron 2XT, LegenDairy AA, and Rebound AA, keeping disease resistance and yield potential top of mind.
  2. Maintain optimal soil fertility for yield and quality.
  3. Pay attention to previous crop chemistry.
  4. Understand the importance of seed treatments.
  5. Develop a season-long management plan.
Herbicide Carryover
“Herbicide carryover is like the dog that doesn’t bite… Until the dog bites.”
  • Herbicide carryover from new residual herbicides (Groups 4, 27, and 14) used on previous crops can result in poor alfalfa establishment, weak stands, stunted growth, or stand failure.
  • Forage Specialist and National Alfalfa Agronomist, Randy Welch, offers his insights to the ongoing issue in this article.
  • This video from Forage Specialist, Jeff Jackson, provides a quick guide of avoiding herbicide carryover in alfalfa.
  • Rotation restrictions for commonly used herbicides can be found here.
Checklist for preventing herbicide carryover in alfalfa:

  1. Review previous herbicide applications and the rotational crop considerations.
  2. Review all the active ingredients in the premixes, not just brand name.
  3. Read and follow the label directions including footnotes.
  4. Plan ahead and develop a herbicide plan that includes alfalfa production.
  5. Always plan for the unexpected if winter damage occurs. 
  1. Rely on increased rainfall to decrease herbicide carryover.
  2. Expect a reduced application rate to decrease herbicide residual time.
  3. Apply herbicides later than specified on the label, as this may increase residual risks.
  4. Assume tillage will eliminate herbicide residual activity.

Soil Fertility for New Alfalfa Seedings
Soil test recommendations before seeding alfalfa:

  • pH: 6.8-7.2
  • Phosphorus: 15-20 ppm
  • Potassium: 150-200 ppm
  • Boron: 1 ppm
  • Sulfur: 20-25 pounds

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