Think Spring with Alfalfa Management Planning
Although Mother Nature hasn’t given much indication that Spring is on its way anytime soon, now is the time to think proper alfalfa management, so that when it does arrive growers are ready for a bountiful alfalfa season.
What’s the Plan?
Proper pH and fertility levels in fields should be tested the year prior to planting the alfalfa seed to ensure the ground is properly ready for a successful crop. Picking the genetics that is best for your operation is also very important. What factors are most important: an intense cutting schedule, type of hay, risk levels, RR Alfalfa—just to name a few, are important factors to discuss with your Landmark agronomist in preparations for a successful crop.
With shorter rotations of alfalfa now being used, it is very important for growers to get the most out of each rotation. Therefore, when planting alfalfa it is best to start clean and take advantage of alfalfa that will provide a healthier and more vigorous stand. Growing crops with proper management can allow for longer rotations on alfalfa, without sacrificing quality.
Do you ASPIRE for Great Alfalfa Production?
Potassium, sulfur and boron are the essential elements for alfalfa production. Although only small amounts of boron and sulfur are required by the alfalfa plant and are considered micronutrients, in alfalfa production they should be treated as essential macronutrients. Until recently proper distribution of boron granular was a challenge due to the small amounts applied per acre, resulting in not all alfalfa plants receiving the necessary amounts of boron.
Enter Aspire—a new kind of potash that contains boron in every granular. This new way of applying macronutrients to the alfalfa plant ensures that boron is properly received by each and every alfalfa plant, resulting in maximum yields.
Application of sulfur is important in two types—a mix of ammonium sulfate that breaks down the sulfur fast, and elemental sulfur which will spoon feed the alfalfa over a longer period of time, both of which are key to alfalfa success.
MICROmanage your Alfalfa
In most situations, micromanaging is less than ideal. However, that’s not the case when managing alfalfa micronutrients. As with all crops, tissue sampling is essential for the best results in alfalfa production. Once alfalfa is tissue sampled your Landmark agronomist can customize a micronutrient package based on the results shown through the tissue sampling, to ensure the most economic return to your farm.
If tissue sample results indicate that additional micronutrients are needed for higher quality alfalfa, simply micromanage them by impregnating the fertilizer with added Wolf Trax nutrients that are very customizable to the needs of a specific field. ZN, MN, CU and B can be micromanaged to provide growers with the highest alfalfa efficiency.
Make Alfalfa “HEADLINE”s with a Bumper Crop
Production and protection are two very important factors for the longevity of alfalfa. By applying Headline to the first two crops of alfalfa, production significantly increases, resulting in more homegrown feed and the need to purchase significantly less feed.. A third application of Headline during last crop will ensure a healthier and more consistent stand going into the winter. The primary advantage of Headline application on alfalfa is the increase of leaf retention in the lower half of the canopy, allowing the harvest of more protein per acre.
“Proper alfalfa planning and management can significantly increase both the quality and quantity of your alfalfa crops. Landmark’s agronomy team has many tools in their toolbox to assist alfalfa producers and help them grow, just as they have been doing since 1933,” notes Joe Slosarczyk, Agronomy leader for Landmark’s East team.
Joe Slosarczyk is a Landmark Agronomist,industry leading expert and Certified Crop Advisor.
He shares his knowledge and expertise in this blog.
Joe can be contacted at 608.669.0896