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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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0711fg_blaser_fg_1The average stand of alfalfa lasts between five to six years.

Once it becomes evident through stand and stem evaluation, or through increased pest population, that the alfalfa stand needs to be replaced, the grower should consider some potential problems with replanting a new crop too quickly.

University studies have shown that there should be a minimum of one year before re-establishing alfalfa because of autotoxicity in existing alfalfa.

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An electronic forage moisture tester can be a very useful tool when baling hay.

There are several different types of testers on the market.

Some testers require a small sample of chopped material for testing, while others measure moisture content with a probe.

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Interpreting forage analysis reports is a two-part process. You must first understand the basic terminology and meaning of the important components of the report.

Then you must evaluate each forage’s ability to produce a desired level of animal performance when it is consumed.

To be useful, a forage analysis report should be based on a representative sample from a single “lot” of hay. (A “lot” is hay from one field which has been cut, handled, baled and stored under uniform conditions.)

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Consistently saturated soils from heavy spring rainfall have taken their toll on some of Indiana's forage crops – especially alfalfa grown on soils that are less than moderately well drained.

Alfalfa samples that Purdue Extension forage specialist Keith Johnson has seen have suffered from too much moisture. "Alfalfa is the most prone to problems," Johnson said. "The plants are yellowing or showing a pea green color, which means soils have been too water-saturated for nitrogen fixation to occur."

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06611_buyingalfalfaDo you remember the first car that you purchased? It was probably nothing fancy but it was fuel efficient, reliable and at the time, was most likely the biggest purchase you had ever made. Of course, the plan was to keep it on the road for as long as possible.

But vehicles age, they get old and tired, and as new cars come on the market that increase fuel efficiency, that original car in the driveway loses gas mileage and shows signs of mechanical problems. At this point, it is time to seriously decide if keeping the car is actually saving you money or if it should be retired for a newer model.

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Alfalfa is one of the most widely adapted and productive crops available to growers. The crop provides high protein, energy and mineral values for livestock.

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