Alfalfa Management Tactics

Aug 02, 2022

Alfalfa field

Below are key strategies and tips our forage team recommends for success as the mid-summer/fall 2022 season is underway.

Summer Seeded Alfalfa.
Summer seeded alfalfa offers many benefits such as a yield advantage in 1st production year as compared to spring seeding and reduced disease pressure at establishment, as warmer and drier soils in summer have less disease pressure. Follow these tips for success.

  • Seed alfalfa from July 20th to August 30th in the Upper Midwest and to mid-September for Central U.S. 

  • Planting summer seeded alfalfa with a drill is critical so the alfalfa stand can sequester adequate moisture from the soil, especially this year as moisture is limited in many regions. Alfalfa seed should planted in the soil 1/2-3/4 inch of depth.  

  • No-tilling/minimum tillage offers the option of conserving more soil moisture in dry regions.

  • Weeds need to be controlled in late summer even more than spring. 

  • Use Roundup Ready® alfalfa varieties such as HarvXtra MegaTron or RR AphaTron 2XT. Roundup applications in the fall avoid crop injury to the alfalfa plant and offer adequate control of weeds to ensure fields are clean the following spring.

  • Other than a grass contact herbicide, do NOT apply a fall herbicide besides glyphosate. Crop injury during the fall can mean the alfalfa will not be able to survive winter. 

  • Ensure the alfalfa plants have 6-8 weeks of growth before entering winter. If plants do not reach adequate size, they are not likely to survive winter.

Fertilizer Applications

Apply fertilizer to replace removed nutrients.

  • Potassium (K) and Phosphorous (P) are important nutrients required for high yield alfalfa.

  • Alfalfa needs 50 pounds of K applied per every DM ton of forage removed.  

  • Sulfur (S) is important for protein production. Sulfur should be applied annually at a rate of 5 pounds per ton of expected forage.

  • Boron (B) is also needed for alfalfa and can be applied annually with K. 


Benefits of Alfalfa in Cropping Rotations

Evaluate alfalfa stands and rotate less productive acres for “FREE” N fertilizer and other crop rotation benefits that alfalfa provides.

  • Alfalfa is the only crop that can produce all the nitrogen requirements for a wheat crop. Depending on yield goal, alfalfa may provide nearly all the N required for corn.

  • Evaluate established alfalfa stands and rotate if alfalfa stands are in yield decline.

  • Nitrogen from alfalfa is worth big money!

  • Alfalfa is the ultimate super-collector for obtaining and holding nutrients and Carbon in the soil profile due to its deep and extensive root system

  • Application rates should be based on crop removal, soil test, and yield goals.

Fill out the form below to contact your local Premier alfafla expert if you have any questions.


        Nick Crary




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With spring just around the corner, your cooperative is gearing up for another one of our seasonal rushes…spring planting season. Not only will we see our total employee count peak for the year, but nearly every asset in the company will be in use. While many businesses have equipment and buildings that are in use all year long, our grain and agronomy divisions have millions of dollars invested in some assets that only get used for a few months out of the year. It is critical that these assets are fully operational and ready to go when the season starts. Our agronomy operations team has spent the winter months going through all the equipment to make sure it's in good working order, unwrapping and greasing up the new sprayers, trucks and other equipment we’ve purchased this year, updating technology and precision tools on existing equipment, and conducting hours of training on its use and safety. 

In addition, the crop advisors and admin staff have been putting the finishing touches on crop plans and seed orders, wrapping up input financing and nutrient management plans, hiring and training new staff including college interns to help scout fields, and maybe taking a little time away to get rested for what is sure to be long days and short nights ahead. If you’re still looking to finalize plans for this planting season, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our highly trained crop advisors.

Gearing up for spring is not only about the equipment, but also the additional staff needed to provide the products and services our members rely on to help feed the world. Each year we try to fill about 100 full and part time positions at our eleven agronomy locations. These positions can last from six weeks up to eight months. Most seasonal positions involve delivering product to our members or directly to fields to keep our custom application machines running smoothly. If you or someone you know is interested in seasonal or year-round employment, please contact Shayla at our Mt Horeb office or stop by one of the agronomy locations. The hours can be flexible and available up to seven days a week. If agronomy work isn’t for you, ask about openings at any of our other locations including retail associates, plant operations, truck drivers, administrative professionals and more. Premier is always looking to add quality people to our team.

Thank you for your continued support of Premier Cooperative and its staff. Have a great month and stay safe!
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