Jun 14, 2021

“Alfalfa is an expensive investment,” said Craig Loen, Federated agronomist at the Osceola location, and “you want to make that investment last for as many years as possible.”

To make it last – and get the greatest ROI – it’s important to feed it. “Alfalfa nutrition management is very critical to its resilience, quality, quantity, and feed value,” said Loen.

Alfalfa has “very high nutrient needs,” he said; it removes significant levels of nutrients from the soil each season. On a dry matter basis, according to Loen, nutrient removal per ton of alfalfa production looks like this:

  • - Phosphorous at 12 lb./ton (or 25 lb. of DAP)
  • - Potassium at 49 lb./ton (or 81 lb. of potash)
  • - Sulfur at 5.4 lb./ton (or 22.5 lb. of AMS, or 31.8 lb. of gypsoil/SO4)

A soil test determines what nutrients are deficient. Tissue samples – taking the top six inches off a plant when the crop is mature – will also reveal nutrient needs.

Alfalfa stand longevity can be diminished without the correct soil nutrient availability. And, said Loen, adding boron to the nutrient mix is important, too. “It is a reproductive nutrient for the crop.”

Aside from getting a stronger return on your alfalfa investment, the animals fed with high-quality, nutrient-rich alfalfa will perform better, too.

Talk to your Federated Agronomist to help interpret your soil test and tissue sampling results for nutrient recommendations.

P.S. on Alfalfa: Be on Bug Watch

Scout those alfalfa fields soon. The recent hot and dry weather creates the perfect environment for yield-robbing potato leaf hoppers and alfalfa weevils.

“It’s never too late to spray for insects on your alfalfa fields,” said Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager.

Talk to your local Federated Agronomist for recommendations on the best options for insect control.

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