Alfalfa Stand Establishment
Questions and Answers
Question 1: I am new to Oklahoma and to alfalfa production.
What should I look for in a good alfalfa soil?
Question 4: How soon can alfalfa be planted following
Question 9: When is the best time to take soil tests for
|Land Preparation and Seedbed Refinement|
|Variety Choice and Seed Quality
Question 18: How can I determine the variety
that is best for my operation?
|Planting Rate, Date, and Dusting In
Question 21: What is the best planting rate
for alfalfa in Oklahoma?
Question 25: What are my equipment options to plant alfalfa?
Question 28: Should I always inoculate alfalfa seed before
Question 30: My fall-planted alfalfa has yellow areas where plants appear to be dying. In these yellow areas, there are tiny aphids that resemble greenbugs. What are they? Should I spray them?
Question 31: In addition to aphids,
what other insects might infest my alfalfa stand?
Question 32: How important is weed control with herbicides
for alfalfa stand establishment?
|Harvesting New Stands and Heaving|
|Budgets and Economic Decision Making
Question 37: When capital is limited, what is a least-cost method of alfalfa stand establishment or where can costs be cut on stand establishment without undue damage?
|Forages Legume Extension Publications|
This is the second in a series of circulars prepared by researchers and Extension specialists who are members of the Alfalfa Integrated Management Team of the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Oklahoma State University, and published in cooperation with the Oklahoma Alfalfa Hay & Seed Association. The first circular (E-943) dealt with alfalfa harvest management topics, and this publication addresses topics that are important to effective stand establishment. Each circular contains answers to specific questions posed by alfalfa producers regarding the most profitable and environmentally sound approaches for managing this forage crop.
The objective of alfalfa stand establishment is to have about 15 to 20 vigorous plants per square foot as growth extends beyond the seedling stage. This circular covers most of the important components that help assure successful establishment to set the stage for several years of productive stand life. Reliable stand establishment depends on good planning, along with some "art" and "good farming" practices.
The 38 producers' questions listed in the table of contents are arranged in chronological order, from choosing a site to decisions about first harvest. For uniformity we have tried to keep terms and cost values constant for all questions in this publication and in Circular E-943. In an attempt to address cost/benefit analysis, we used what we considered "normal" costs and prices. Some of our units of measure, prices, and conventions include:
It is not unusual to hear about successful stands that were sown under adverse (or unusual) conditions, using unconventional methods. Recommendations in this circular were developed by careful observation of successful alfalfa production, first-hand experience, and research. We do not intend to imply that other practices never work. We encourage alfalfa producers to try new ideas, products, and practices. At the same time, producers should avoid temptations to extrapolate from single observations to other conditions or to think there is only one way to successfully establish alfalfa stands -- the way we have always done it.
The authors of this circular would appreciate hearing from readers. We would like to know if producers find this an effective format for alfalfa Extension publications, if the information presented is realistic and usable, if the information seems appropriate for individual situations, etc.
-- The AIM Committee.
PREPARED FOR REGIONAL ALFALFA CONFERENCES BY A PANEL OF EXTENSION PERSONNEL AND ALFALFA PRODUCERS SPONSORS OKLAHOMA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY AND OKLAHOMA ALFALFA HAY & SEED ASSOCIATION PREPARED BY John Caddel, Forage Extension Agronomist Jim Stritzke, Forage Weed Control Specialist Phil Mulder, Forage Extension Entomologist Gordon Johnson, Extension Soil Fertility Specialist Clement Ward, Extension Agricultural Economist Ray Huhnke, Extension Agricultural Engineer Richard Berberet, Alfalfa Entomologist WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM OTHER ALFALFA INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE MEMBERS Lonnie Sellers, Southwest Area Extension Agronomist Roger Gribble, Northwest Area Extension Agronomist Mark Gregory, Southwest Area Extension Agronomist Gerrit Cuperus, Extension IPM. Coordinator ADVICE FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OKLAHOMA ALFALFA HAY & SEED ASSOCIATION OKLAHOMA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE DIVISION OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES AND NATURAL RESOURCES OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY