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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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Historically, measuring alfalfa yield has been a labor-intensive process. University researchers used to measure alfalfa yield by planting and growing alfalfa varieties in small plots.

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Due to alfalfa’s wide adaptation, high biomass productivity and nutritional quality, it is often referred to as the “queen of forages.”

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Cleanliness, consistency, convenience, composition and cost-effectiveness (the five C’s) are important characteristics to consider when discussing the ideal hay for horses. Some of these characteristics are important to the health or performance of the horse, while others are important to the horse owner.

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How important is hay?
Horses need fiber in their diet to maintain a normal digestive tract. For grazing horses, fiber comes from pasture, but for horses without access to pasture, hay provides the needed fiber.

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Every time you harvest a field of alfalfa, as much as 70 percent of the plants are driven over by the equipment used to cut, rake, bale or chop, and remove the alfalfa from the field. During an entire year, some plants may be driven over 10 times.

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As the first cutting of alfalfa is nearly complete for most dairymen, the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) recently provided its members with insightful ways to improve and revitalize existing alfalfa stands.

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