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alfalfa

Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:43 pm
by m5farm
Tell me what has worked for you.

I spent a good portion of my time talking to some forage specialist from UGA at Moultrie this week and they have my interest peaked on adding alfalfa to my Bermuda grass hay fields . As I have these fields rehabbed for the most part but I think adding a coolseason crop would be very beneficial. Ive seen the test plots here at IFAS and it grows well. I plan on planting about 5 acres on some of my most fertile field. Ive read that planting it in rows does better than broadcasting it. I have a small taylor notill I use and can space it in 20" rows

Re: alfalfa

Posted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:09 pm
by Big Muddy rancher
Up in this dry country the always suggested rows.

Re: alfalfa

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:17 am
by mrj
Has anyone had experience with the yellow grazing alfalfa? I heard of it and think we discussed it here years ago, but still haven't found anyone who has used, or is using it.

It makes sense to me as a booster for native grass pastures if it can be broadcast planted, or incorporated with very little disturbing of soils.

My understanding of it is that it doesn't cause any bloat or other problems when grazed.

mrj

Re: alfalfa

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:40 am
by m5farm
I'm am a complete newb to alfalfa I have never seen any except in test plots at research center. I'm very interested In it tho.

Re: alfalfa

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:07 pm
by Traveler
m5farm wrote:I'm am a complete newb to alfalfa I have never seen any except in test plots at research center. I'm very interested In it tho.

Is anyone else raising it in your area? It's tough getting it to dry down and put up quality hay under high humidity, and grass will tend to overtake it. Big round bales?

Re: alfalfa

Posted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:43 pm
by m5farm
No one does it on large scale except the beef unit. And they graze it. It may be futile attempt but I can do sq bales also.

Re: alfalfa

Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:29 am
by Cowpuncher
We are retired now, but we tried planting falcata (yellow alfalfa) along with grass in some CRP ground.
We mixed the seed in the drill and planted a few hundred acres. We got some alfalfa - little - and it had blue flowers.
WE called the seed company and they sent us replacement seed which we used. It didn't work either.
A neighbor had some seed from another source and he spread it in a few places on native prairie. It did OK, but never spread like it should.

I guess our climate is not compatible with the Falcata. We never got it to work. But we at least tried.

CP

Re: alfalfa

Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:57 am
by mrj
Interesting, Cowpuncher. And sorry it didn't work out for you.

If recall is fairly accurate, I believe it was in northwestern SD, and that general area, maybe brought in by Russian immigrants long ago, and a long ago leader at SD State U. got some seed and worked with it successfully for a few years. Likely people found something that they thought was better for hay, at least that has been the result in SD far as I was able to learn with limited searching.

From my point of view, the 'no bloat' deal along with being compatible and even beneficial to grasses seems like a 'win-win' situation for northern ranchers. Just have a few others to convince on this ranch.

mrj

Re: alfalfa

Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:14 am
by m5farm
Ive decided to go another route after talking with a few other producers in my area. Im gonna seed red clover ahead of next rain. I will plant a very small area of alfalfa just to say I tried and may in the future add some to the hay fields.

Re: alfalfa

Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:22 am
by RSL
Interesting. We use lots of alfalfa, with some tame pastures 75%+Alfalfa. We usually seed with a Case IH 6200 press drill on 6" centres and put it in 1/4" deep. Depending on our target we usually try to hit about 5# per acre seeding rate. Rain makes it grow, and patience makes it rain (eventually). We also pack it good before we seed to ensure that the seed depth is controlled. We have some stands that are over 30 years old and still contain tremendous amounts of alfalfa (including the old yellow Anik varieties. We keep it in the stand by rapid grazing and then moving the cattle off. Not for everyone, but it is basically the same idea as haying it. we don't leave cattle on it for extended periods of time. Average yield on the old stands is around 75 cow days per acre dryland. In a year like this one, we can top 100. We try to get narrow row spacings and are going to experiment with adding sainfoin to the mixture as well. We will often throw common alfalfa into the drill for our annual crop acres when we seed.
Bloat is a non issue here, but we don't buy a lot of cattle in and our cowherd is pretty adapted, so we rarely follow any of the recommendations about putting cattle into alfalfa or moving them at certain times of the day.
I know it likes cool weather, so it would be interesting to see how it does further south. It does make fantastic hay in a mixed stand.

Re: alfalfa

Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:02 pm
by Big Muddy rancher
Have you tried Cicer Milkvetch?

Re: alfalfa

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:53 am
by m5farm
Big Muddy rancher wrote:Have you tried Cicer Milkvetch?


very interesting , I can not find where any testing has been done down here but I recall seeing some type of vetch on display at UGA booth , I will investigate further tho.