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Alfalfa

Find articles on alfalfa planting, stand establishment and crop management to help you achieve your production goals.

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Clumps of alfalfa are a common sight along roads and vacant lots in areas that grow alfalfa for hay or seed.

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Alfalfa is one of those animal foods that are kind of taken for granted as it is so plentiful – it seems to be used everywhere, for all types of animals. But believe it or not, there are actually a lot of uses for alfalfa that have nothing to do with cows.

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The alfalfa snout beetle (ASB) remains a key limiting factor to alfalfa stand life in northern New York, capable of killing entire stands or large portions of stands in a single year.

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Aphanomyces root rot has plagued alfalfa growers for decades. Over the years, two different genetic manifestations of the disease have been discovered: Race 1 and Race 2. Fortunately, alfalfa varieties with resistance to both races have been on the market for a while, providing excellent protection for alfalfa growers across the country.

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The quality of alfalfa hay is determined by its maturity at cutting, environmental conditions prior to and during harvest, and by handling and storage processes post-harvest. Environmental conditions vary from year to year and day to day, so calendar date is not a good predictor.

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Hay from road ditches is commonly harvested and used as feed for beef cattle and other livestock. In some cases, the forages being harvested from ditches are of very high quality, while in others the hay is harvested well after dedicated hayfields and optimizing quality may not be a top priority.

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