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Find articles on alfalfa planting, stand establishment and crop management to help you achieve your production goals.


Market demand for high-quality alfalfa knows virtually no bounds.

Livestock producers from one end of the country to the other clamor for this choice forage.

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Marketing involves being customer-oriented. It also means listening to buyers and understanding their wants and needs.

Effective marketing of alfalfa begins before production and involves selecting target markets, planning production practices to produce alfalfa for each target market and considering the timing of marketing efforts.

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During my last year of high school, I worked for Don Tobler and his son, Harmon, north of Nampa, Idaho. They had a dairy farm, one of the few I had seen milking Jersey cows.

In that era milk processors had stopped paying the usual premium for the high-butterfat Jersey milk. Holstein cows were added, which caused a need for segregated lodging for the two breeds.

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Stem diseases in alfalfa typically cause loss of vigor and reduction in crop yield and quality. Disease pressure is increased by late, cold and wet spring seasons, and when the crop is kept moist by rainy weather or heavy dews.

When nurse crops are present, alfalfa disease can be worse. Tall stubble after cutting and weeds growing around plants also contribute to disease pressure.

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0811fg_undersander_1Editor’s note: Even though the discussion in this article is based on an older study and prices may not accurately reflect today’s market, the general application principle of shorter rotations are still applicable for production and profitability now.

Shorter rotations mean greater profit per acre for the entire farm because of higher alfalfa yield, higher forage quality, reduced pesticide use, greater nitrogen credits and increased corn yields.

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Proper nutrient levels go a long way in promoting yield, forage quality, disease tolerance and overall crop production. If your alfalfa stand is lacking nutrients, you’re not going to realize optimum yield and quality potential.

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