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Alfalfa Management Tips

June 8, 2011

Alfalfa harvesting is well underway and many producers are filling silos, bunkers, and ag bags. Here are some tips to get the most out of your alfalfa.

1. Alfalfa requires adequate amounts of phosphorus(P), potassium(K), and boron(B) to be productive. B is essential for plant growth and disease prevention. P and K are vital for proper photosynthesis, water use efficiency, and growth. P is also essential for protein production. In Pennsylvania, recommendations for P are 15lbs/ton alfalfa produced, for K are 60lbs/ton alfalfa produced, and for B are 2lbs/acre/year.

2. Alfalfa that is going to be used as silage should be cut during the early bloom stage. This is when 25% of stems have at least one visible flower.

3. When packing a bunker full of silage, research has shown that it will take one half hour for a 13,000lbs tractor to pack 7 tons of silage. Make sure you have more than enough packing tractors and weight for the amount of silage you are bring in. A silage bunker can never be overpacked.

4. Leaf hopper can cause serious crop damage. Leaf hopper damage is described as hopperburn. Basically the leaf hopper feeds on the alfalfa plant and its saliva is toxic, this causes the plant to “burn”. It is always a good idea to scout for leaf hopper. Check out this fact sheet for more information on how to scout for leafhopper:

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 14, 2014 8:11 am

    Thanks for the good tips! We are considering alfalfa for our goats.

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