Alfalfa Variety Portfolio 01/22/14 11:17:22 AM
HIGH YIELDING - HIGH QUALITY ALFALFA FROM THE FOLLOWING BRANDS:
NEXGROW ALFALFA: Syngenta and Forage Genetics working together
LEGACY ALFALFA: Forage-based company offering value
- Alfalfa is a tap-rooted perennial legume.
- It is very productive, drought-tolerant, widely adapted, and is the second most commonly planted forage legume in the world.
- Dry hay and haylage production, grazing, soil-building plowdown.
- Best performance on well-drained soils with a pH of 6.8 – 7.5.
- Deep-rooted and very drought-tolerant once established.
- Not well-adapted to poorly-drained or acidic soils.
- Pasturing livestock on alfalfa must be managed to prevent bloat.
- Final cutting should be taken 6 weeks before killing frost.
- Early to late spring, late summer.
- (In southern MN: April 1 – May 15, August 15 - Sept. 1)
- Drill ¼ - ¾ inches deep in a well-prepared seedbed. Can be broadcast or bulk-spread and rolled in. Do not drag deeply.
- A cover crop of oats, barley, wheat, or Italian Ryegrass is often used.
- To maximize establishment and productivity, either bale the cover crop or straight seed the alfalfa.
Seeding Rate: 15 -18 lbs./acre alone. 2 – 14 lbs. in mixtures.
Seeds per Pound: 227,000
Feed quality of alfalfa harvested as haylage or hay depends, to a great extent, on the maturity of the stand. With increased maturity, plant structural carbohydrates increase. These fiber fractions represent the indigestible parts of the plant. As a result, digestibility and energy obtained through fermentation decrease with maturity. Harvest pre-bloom for optimum quality.
- Direct-seeding grass and legumes produces a forage crop more quickly than using a small grain as a nurse crop.
- In a dry spring, a grass/legume mix can be hurt by the small grain sucking up available moisture and out-competing your under-seeding.
- A good alternative to oats is to use Italian Ryegrass at a rate of 4 lbs./acre as a nurse crop and increase your seeding year tonnage by as much as ½ ton per acre.