Fall Stand Evaluations

Oct 06, 2022

Evaluating alfalfa stands

Preparing for Next Year.

Now is the time to evaluate your alfalfa stands and decide which alfalfa fields should be rotated to another crop next season. Alfalfa stands should be routated out oproduction based on their root scores and stem counts. Keep in mind, alfala stand health will not improve over winter. Here are the steps you can take to evaluate your stands. 

Randonly dig plants form throughout the field (minimum 10 plants per field). Split crowns and score roots of each plant.
  1. Detemine the average score for the field.
  2. Rotate or keep the stand based on the average score from reading. A root score of 0-2 is a healthy stand for high production. A root score of 3-5 should be rotated out of production.
  3. Use the stems to evaluate current yield potential & use roots to evaluate future yield potential
    1. Established stand: stem density of 55 stems/sq. foot is non-yield limiting
    2. New seeding: Plant density greater than 15 plants/sq. foot in a fall of seeding year or greater than 6 plants/sq. foot during the 2nd production year is non-yield limiting.
    3. Fields that are yield limiting should be rotated to a different crop.
There are many different benefits to rotating alfalfa, but one of the main reasons is the nitrogen benefits. Alfalfa is the only crop that can produce all the nitrogen requirements for a wheat crop. Also, depending on yield goal, alfalfa may provide nearly all the nitrogen required for corn.  

Alfalfa is the ultimate super-collector for obtaining and holding nutriends and Carbon in the soil profile due to its deep and extensive root system. Data shows that this feature add significantly to a yield bump of the consecutive crop with overall improvements in soil health.

Once again, now is the time to evaluate your stands and decide which fields should be rotated to another crop next season. Read more here on the benefits of fall fertilizer applications for those fields that you decide to keep in production. As always, reach out to your local Premier agronomist with any questions on evaluating alfalfa stands. 

Nick Crary


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Mar 03,2023
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!
Mar 03,2023
Cattle nutrient requirements can vary by season and stage of production. Now is a great time to evaluate your cattle mineral programs and map out a plan to maximize impact.

While minerals are a relatively small portion of the diet, they control many vital functions in cattle and impact everything from cattle reproduction to feed efficiency and overall herd health. That's why it’s so important to make sure the mineral needs of your cattle are being met year-round.
Mar 03,2023
I know many of you have plans in place for a spring burndown herbicide application. If not, here are a few reasons for you to get in contact with your Premier agronomist to do so. Spring burndown applications typically target winter annuals and perennial grasses that overwinter and resume growing as soon as temperatures warm in the spring.  As they get going in the field they immediately begin stealing water and nutrients from the soil, and can create planting challenges. With the onset of resistant weeds like waterhemp, and standby challenges like giant ragweed, it is a best practice recommendation to add a strong residual herbicide to your preplant spring burndown application.  Doing so helps keep populations down and gets ahead of your first early post application. Here are some tips for establishing clean fields that give your crop a strong start.


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