Menu

Timing is Right for Summer Alfalfa Seeding

Reports from the Thumb of Michigan about alfalfa fields that were thinned from last winter continue to reinforce the challenge of keeping high producing alfalfa in rotation. Fields that were late to emerge from dormancy have had reduced yields. By adding the challenge of a wet spring and a lack of good drying weather for dry hay, you can understand the sense of frustration with the weather for hay producers. For the fields that were hurt by the winter, producers should carefully assess whether the current alfalfa stands will be adequate for subsequent years.

Many alfalfa growers are preparing to seed new fields and with some of the best varieties in short supply; producers should contact their seed suppliers early to insure they can get the variety they want. Michigan State University Extension recommends that a summer seeding should be planted by Aug. 1 for the northern regions of Michigan and before Aug. 15 for the southern regions. Varieties grown in Michigan should be at least moderately winterhardy, high yielding, and have resistance to diseases such as bacterial wilt, anthracnose and Phytophthora root rot. For long-term stands, varieties should be winterhardy for best results.

Producers can access the yield results for varieties grown in Michigan at the 2013 Michigan Forage Variety Test Report. Fields selected for summer seeding should have been rotated out of alfalfa for one year to reduce the potential for alfalfa toxicity.

Best results for alfalfa establishment are achieved when a firm, weed-free seedbed is utilized. Seeds should be planted shallow at a depth of 0.25 inches for fine-textured soils and 0.5 inches below the surface for coarse-textured soils. For fields that are planted to a pure alfalfa stand, 15-18 pounds of seed are recommended.

For information regarding alfalfa stand assessment, see:

Source: Michigan State University Extension

Recent News

Poor Forage Quality Spurs Malnutrition Concerns
11/11/2019

A Purdue University Extension specialist is warning livestock owners that forage they harvested earlier this year likely has lower-than-usual nutritional quality. Without proper supplements, there could be serious consequences for their animals. “This is a very unusual year, and the quality is extremely low for this late-harvested forage,” said Keith Johnson, a professor of  agronomy  and  […]

Where’s the Bean? Missing Seed in Soybean Pods
11/7/2019

As soybean harvest progresses, a few growers are noticing poor yields in otherwise nice-looking plants and pods. While a visual inspection might lead to high estimations of seed quality, the inside may contain shrunken, shriveled or, even worse, missing seed.  Stink bugs can often cause this type of injury to soybean seed. They have piercing […]

Corn, Soybean Harvest Slowest Since 2009-Propane Supply a Concern
11/7/2019

Late last month, Des Moines Register writer Donnelle Eller reported that, “Rain has slowed the harvest across the state in recent days. National Weather Service data for Des Moines showed that central Iowa on [October 23rd] matched the October rainfall record of 7.29 inches, set in 1941. Any more rain in the remaining eight days of the month […]

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now