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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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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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For convenience or necessity, we sometimes want to work in or make applications in our alfalfa fields during the late fall, winter and early spring. Alfalfa is most dormant then, and it is a good time to apply fertilizer, compost or manure. Sometimes we need to use herbicides that are supposed to be applied while alfalfa is dormant.

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Highly saline soils have been a thorn in the side of alfalfa producers in arid regions of the U.S. for years. Soils that are high in salt can limit alfalfa yields and have a negative effect on plant emergence and health.

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The Bighorn Basin of Wyoming is known for the three “B’s” – beans, beets and barley. Kevin Lewis and his wife, Renee, have been farming on the family farm since 1990, but they don’t follow the three B’s rule.

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In alfalfa genetics, agronomy meets nutrition. Forage quality can significantly affect the value of the plant for animal nutrition. Crop management, protection from pests and seed genetics are vital for producers who want to maximize both yield and quality.

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What should you do with fall alfalfa? Leave it? Cut it? Graze it? Each of these options can be correct under appropriate conditions. Making the best decision requires balancing the associated rewards and risks with each option.

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