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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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Glyphosate-resistant alfalfa has become a popular option for many growers throughout the U.S. for growing pure alfalfa. It offers improved flexibility in weed management, as well as overall cleaner hay and silage. Because growers can control a wide range of weeds using this technology, many fields are more easily managed and less stressful to control.

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Genetically modified, reduced-lignin alfalfa is a significant game changer for alfalfa growers. It allows either higher-quality alfalfa to be harvested or delayed harvest with equal quality but higher yield.

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In 2019, there were an estimated 19.5 million alfalfa acres in production distributed from coast to coast.

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Weather patterns in central and northern Wisconsin were especially challenging to alfalfa stands during the winter and spring of 2018-19. Several winter rain events on already-saturated soils, lack of snow cover during the coldest part of winter and ice conditions in much of the Upper Midwest produced difficult conditions for alfalfa survival.

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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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