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Equipment planning and attention to detail can help provide the ideal seedbed for alfalfa.
Plant into a firm seedbed to control seed depth. Planting into a loose seedbed often allows seeds to end up at varying depths,resulting in uneven stands. Avoid surface application unless follow-up packing is performed.
Regardless of equipment (airflow, drill or Brillion-type seeders), control depth and ensure proper seed-to-soil contact. Planting rates do not need to be adjusted for coated seed. The planting rate for alfalfa varies from region to region, but generally 18 to 20 lbs/A is recommended.
Alfalfa seed that is 34 percent coating by weight, including components or ingredients:
Coating helps improve stand establishment and can increase seed efficiency. The most critical time for long-term stand productivity occurs within the first 30 days after seeding.
An excellent coated seed option to help get plants off to a fast, healthy start is GroZone® plus Advanced Coating® Zn 34% seed, which contains:
Evaluate alfalfa stem density to determine current productivity potential, and root health to determine future yield potential.
Dig up several plants from different field locations, cut into the taproot and visually assess the plant according to the photo chart.
A healthy root will be firm and white or slightly yellow. Crown rot is present in the field if roots have dark brown areas extending down the center.
Consider replacing the stand if the average root score is 2 or 3. If higher, the stand should be replaced. Rotating the stand provides a benefit from alfalfa’s nitrogen credit between 80 and 120 units.