Alfalfa Growing Ideas

  1. A strong biological soil is the backbone of maximum production of both yield and quality in any crop. Benefits of increased biological activity in the soil are:

  1. Water Penetration and holding capacity by promoting increased soil flocculation. As the microorganisms move about in the soil in search of their food they restructure the soil by pushing the particles around. These particles are then held in place by the fungal hyphae and the polysaccharides that are exudates from the bacteria and other organisms resulting in a soil structure or crumb structuring of the soil.
  2. Increased nutrient availability to the plant by oxygenating the soil and thus stimulating more root development along with an increase in nutrient mineralization.
  3. Suppression of soil borne diseases and root feeding nematodes due to competitive exclusion.
  1. BioBase at 1 quart and Plus E at 6 ounces per acre in the fall:

  1. BioBase is product that provides food substrates, enzymes and bio stimulants to the beneficial aerobic microorganisms in the soil. While BioBase stimulates the complete soil food web Plus E provides an enzyme package that works more particularly with the fungal activity. Thus providing a stubble or crop residue breakdown recycling the nutrients or energy used to grow the previous crop. We know that 50% to 60% of the energy used to grow the crop is left in the field as residue and roots.
  2. Application may be made through the irrigation system, impregnating on a dry fertilizer blend, adding to a liquid fertilizer blend, or sprayed directly onto the soil or crop residue before or after tillage.
  3. Timing of application can be done any time just before or after harvest is complete. If fall fumigation is planned a 21 day waiting period is necessary. Break down of crop residue is a function of biological activity and thus requires moisture and warm soil temperature and as such the earlier fall applications will prove most beneficial.
  4. As crop residue is a function of soil biological activity the residue must be in contact with the soil for any biological action to occur. Any place the residue does not contact the soil prevents the microorganisms from doing their work.
  5. Applying 4 ounces per acre Microdigest along with the BioBase an d Plus E will increase the biological degradation of the residues in the soil. Microdigest is an inoculum of specific micro organisms that were selected for their ability to degrade crop and toxic residues.
  1. BioBase at 1 quart per acre in the spring:

  1. BioBase stimulates the complete beneficial soil food web using food substrates, enzymes, and bio stimulants but enhances more the beneficial bacterial activity.
  2. Application can be made, as with BioBase and Plus E, either through the irrigation, impregnating on a dry fertilizer blend, added to a liquid fertilizer blend or sprayed directly onto the soil.
  3. Timing of application can be any time that works easiest into the cultural practices of the grower. Keep in mind that the earlier the biology is kicked into gear in relation to the crop growth the sooner the benefits and advantages will be available to the new growing crop.
  1. Planting

  1. A seed treatment of RootMax at 6 ounces per acre can be used to get the biological and Mycorrhizal stimulant around the seed if the pop-up fertilizer is not used. The Start application helps make quicker germination as well as greater root development.
  2. A treatment of 1 quart of RootMax could be applied to existing stands of Alfalfa to stimulate new root development as well as the biological and Mycorrhizal activity.
  3. Galaxy at a rate of 1.5 ounces per acre would provide an inoculum of Plant Growth Promoting Rhyzzoshpere bacteria that would stimulate root development and nutrient mineralization around the root building a stronger plant.
  1. Fertilization

  1. Preplant
  1. A soil sample should be taken and fertilizer applied accordingly with all fertilizer complexed using Nutri-Aid on the Nitrogen, Sulfur at a rate of 2 pints/15 gal liquid or 2 pints impregnated per 60 units of dry. Sup-O-Phos at a rate of 1 quart/20 gallons liquid or 1 quart/70 units of dry phosphate an Sup-O-K at the same rates as the Sup-O-Phos.
  1. Growing Season
  1. After 1st, 2nd, 3rd cutting apply 5 gallons 10-34-0 along with 1 quart of Sup-O-Phos per acre applied just as the field has a green cast from re-growth. This fertilizer should be applied through the circle with the circle running at 90+%. With this method of fertilization additional Phosphate and Potassium may need to be applied according to a yearly soil sample.
  2. When the alfalfa is about 6-9 inches tall a MAP foliar application of 1 quart VitaMax and 1 ounce Molybdenum will give the plant a growth stimulant that seems to delay maturity as well as quicker start after cutting.
  1. Best Bale

  1. Best bale applied at cutting with the swather at a rate of 3-4 ounces/estimated dry ton will increase relative feed value as well as help shorten the dry down time.