CROPLAN: Let’s not cut corners on alfalfa management


As new seed technologies emerge in the industry each year, it’s important to make sure growers get the most out of those alfalfa acres planted.

“We have some great new products in the industry right now, talking about reduced lignin alfalfa, the new HarvXtra trait that helps us with higher quality alfalfa or having a more flexible cutting window,” said Jeff Jackson, Alfalfa/Forage Specialist, CROPLAN by Winfield United. “Let’s follow up that concept and say, you know you just ordered the best genetics in the industry — what we can we do to get the most return on investment on that acre and how do we manage it?”

Jackson shared his tips for growers and producers on how to grow the biggest pile of high quality feed, during his presentation, “Optimizing Your Alfalfa Acre: ROI Counts!” at the Central Plains Dairy Expo in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

An 11-year member of the CROPLAN by Winfield United seed team, Jackson said seed selection, field prep, plant nutrition, insects, disease, and harvest timing all have an impact on the return and productivity of alfalfa acres.

“We know people have an opportunity to plant the neatest, greatest varieties and traits in the industry, but let’s not cut corners and cut ourselves short in how we manage that acre following planting that seed,” Jackson said.

Jackson’s three tips for optimizing alfalfa acres:

  1. Not all varieties are created equal. We have a little homework to do to make sure we are handling proper cutting management and style.
  2. Seed bed preparation — Don’t cut corners on getting a good firm seed bed for your alfalfa stand because that is where it all starts. Again, you get good seed, start it from the dirt and go from there.
  3. Look at how to manage some of the flexibility with these new products that are in the industry. We want to get it started right and manage it all the way through the end.

To follow the conversation further on crop management, listen to Winfield’s podcast series The Deal with Yield and follow the alfalfa segments.

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