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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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Cultivars of many forage crops (alfalfa, white clover, tall fescue, orchardgrass, etc.) are not inbred lines or hybrids but, rather, populations. Thus, while every seed in a bag of wheat, soybean or corn is genetically identical, every seed in an alfalfa seed bag is genetically different.

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Every year in the Midwest, alfalfa fields are at risk for winter damage or kill due to extended cold temperatures and ice sheeting. Having the ability to evaluate your alfalfa fields for injury in early spring can ultimately jump-start crop rotation decisions.

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The conventional wisdom about cultivated, irrigated forages is that they have more than enough protein for ruminants but are too high in fiber and too low in energy to meet the needs of fattening calves or high-producing dairy cows.

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There are many reasons alfalfa has been known as the “Queen of Forages.” It is a highly nutritious and palatable forage with many benefits to livestock including high rates of digestion and intake.

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Last year we asked producers from around the country how their hay season had gone. We had such a great response that we decided to do the same thing this year. We gave three specific questions we consider to be burning questions in the industry.

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Haymaking was difficult this year in many regions of the country. Now is the time to analyze what happened and think about what could be done differently for next year.

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