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Seed selection is only the beginning to a plentiful forage harvest; check out additional articles on soil testing, root development and timing to help you succeed.


Good seedbed preparation and late summer management are among the biggest factors that determine a successful, high-yielding alfalfa crop.

Alfalfa is a long-term investment for growers and, to maximize productivity, there are several steps to take before seeding in the fall to ensure good stand establishment the next spring.

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As we approach the spring planting producers might be considering hybrid bermudagrass varieties as a forage option to establish pasture or hayfields.

Variety testing at Mississippi State University has shown that although most hybrid bermudagrasses propagate only through vegetative material, they have greater yield potential than seeded bermudagrass, but also require higher fertilization rates.

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Some of the corn planted has been in the ground for a few weeks and the early-planted corn should now be spiking according to Tim Schnakenberg, agronomy specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

“Normally corn should be up and out of the ground within three weeks of planting, but the cooler weather and high moisture levels may cause stands to not emerge evenly,” says Schnakenberg.

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Agriculture has changed in many ways during the last 50 years. One of the greatest changes has been the use of no-till planting methods.

The problem of soil erosion with conventional row-crop production has been significantly decreased by using herbicides to kill a cover crop and planting without tillage. Though often overlooked, no-till technology is well-suited to be used in forage crop establishment.

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Farmers generally minimize feed costs by producing high yields of high-quality forage. Some farmers strive to long stand life, but many take advantage of short rotations with forage to gain rotational effects and nitrogen credits, thereby increasing yield of the following corn crop for either grain or silage.

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When growing alfalfa, variety selection is only one key to maximizing yield and forage quality. Even the best seed genetics will never allow a crop to reach its full potential unless growers also take the necessary steps to identify their specific, individual needs prior to planting and establishing a successful stand.

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