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Alfalfa Production Tips

Production Tips

These production tips can help you establish a great stand of high yielding, high quality alfalfa.


Soil Selection

• Choose a field with good drainage
• Test the soil for pH and fertility
• Soils should have a pH of 6.5 or above
• If soil pH is below 6.5, an application of lime may be required 12 months ahead of seeding to raise soil pH


Soil Test

• Soil test for phosphorus (P), potassium (K) and other elements like sulfur
• Your local soil testing lab can make best recommendations for fertility
• P and K can be applied anytime prior to and/or at seeding
• Soil and plant tissue tests can also guide ongoing topdressing ratios throughout the life of the stand


• With proper management, alfalfa can be seeded conventionally, into reduced tillage or into no-till
• Seed a minimum of 15 pounds per acre
•Spring seedings can begin as soon as frost is out of the ground, seeding early will help improve first year yields
•Fall seedings should occur at least 6 weeks before the historic freeze date for performance the following year


Seeding Depth

• Start with a firm seed bed
• Seed to soil contact and proper seeding depth makes the difference in stand performance
• Plant 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep in heavier soils
• Plant 1/2 to 3/4 inch deep in sandy soils



• Cut first year spring seeded stands at early to mid-bloom (about 70-80 days after seedings)
• Subsequent harvests can be made 25 to 28 days later
• Established stands (second year or older) can be harvested more frequently without severe stand damage
• Most growers like to start first harvest on established stand with a bud cut and following harvests at early bloom (about 26-30 days in most areas)
• Traffic Tested® varieties have been proven to withstand more frequent harvests