Alfalfa Seeding Update. No-tillage is best...With a Mustang Tool Bar for maintaining high quality Alfalfa
Broadcasting alfalfa seed using a floater or dry spreader is less likely to produce acceptable alfalfa stands compared to other methods because there is less control of seed distribution and seeding depth.
Seeding rate often must be increased 25 percent to 50 percent for similar stand success.
Of the three methods, Tillage, Broadcast and No-tillage...The proven best method is No-till with a single disc No-till drill or a European No-till planter that handles small seeds such as the Monosem. The No- tillage method assures the best stand with less seed cost into standing stubble.
Another excellent method of seeding involves using specially built or modified drills that place seed directly into the stubble of small grains without further seedbed preparation.
Most Alfalfa seeding row spacing is very good and best below 7-inch spacing, therefore seeding twice with RTK guidance is a viable option with a 10 inch drill.
A Deere 1895 has the advantage of banding Merchant Grade 0-52-0 and KTS to improve the availability of P without tillage.
A Deere 1895 can be used by Exactrix owners for a seeding tool since it can seed on 6, 2/3 row spacing, using a good meter built by Ag Pro.
The Deere 1890, 7.5 inch drills should seed twice. A special Exactrix 1890 seed boot is available with air relief. Air delivery must be closely regulated to seed at .75 inch depth of seed placement. Packing on the seed is not required if a good closing wheel is used. Most closing wheels from Deere are acceptable because they do not pack on top of the seed.
A specialized drill might be better using a high quality meter from Seed Spider. A 20-foot Deere 1590 box drill is suggested. A Yielder Drill in L series will meter seed that is fine without packing on top.
A Monosem Planter is the best way to seed Alfalfa on 15-inch centers, and should be planted at least twice.
This No-tillage method for establishing Alfalfa is especially well suited for sandy, erosive soils in central and western Nebraska. Stubble seeding will not work well if weedy grasses or volunteer grain plants are abundant. Weed control must be superior. May seedings are most likely better since two treatments of herbicide can be used.
Light disking or herbicides can control moderate amounts of weeds. Stubble seeding also is difficult if excessive straw remains. Remove excess straw by baling or chopping.
Seed alfalfa 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep in fine textured soils, and 3/4-inch deep in sandy soils. Seeds placed too shallow may fail to establish healthy plants.
Monosem Planters reduce seed costs. Depth Control is much better than most drills.
Seedlings that develop from seeds placed too shallow will dry out rapidly and die, or develop poor roots.
Seeds planted more than 1 inch deep may not emerge.
Plant high quality seed of varieties with a high yield potential. Common seed or uncertified varieties are poor choices.
The same planter used for Alfalfa can also plant Garbanzo Beans, Winter Canola, and High Quality Wheat Seed that is very expensive. Alfalfa seed inoculation by Rhizobium Melioti can be injected as a liquid in row for maximum accuracy.
Highest Quality Seed, Highest Quality Rhizobia Required.
A yield increase of only-1/4-ton-per- acre of hay worth $60 per ton will increase returns by $15 per acre each year. These returns will pay for the greater cost of high quality seed.
Inoculate alfalfa seed.
Apply inoculums to the seed before planting, (see NebGuide G79-435, "Inoculation of Forage Legumes,") Inoculating with the proper type of Rhizobium bacteria helps alfalfa form effective root nodules that convert nitrogen from the air in the soil into a form that plants can use. Thus, nitrogen fertilizer is not needed.
Timing of Seeding...
A relay intercrop method is most likely successful in the PNW dryland of the high rainfall Palouse.
A good economic crop is allowed without the loss of income, establishing Alfalfa.
Alfalfa should be seeded in late April and early May, followed within a few days or weeks by Garbanzo Bean seeding or planting, No-till. Lower rates of seeding Garbanzos might improve the stand of Alfalfa. The Alfalfa Stand is the number 1 priority.
Planting Garbanzos can be much better economically. The same is true with Alfalfa. Monosem planters are very successful.
The Roundup Harvest Label must be used carefully. Alfalfa will tolerate low rates of Glyphosate.
Mustangs shallow banding into dessicated Alfalfa, Lyons KS.
Mustangs Banding deep at 7 inches at Seward, NE. Time of Banding..0-52-0 and 0-0-22-17S.
The Alfalfa Relay with Garbanzo should be banded pre-plant, and prior to the drill or planter passage, April or May Banding.
The stand will not need to be banded for two years following good banding treatments. No-till banding the first year should provide enough nutrients for up to 3 years.
The Deere 1890 Exactrix application tool bars can be used with very favorable results.
G1456, Neb Guide, Lincoln.
Bruce Anderson, Extension Forage Specialist
For More Information:
Eric Odberg at Genesee, Idaho breaking winter wheat yield records with Exactrix TAPPS at Catholic Canyon using 4 management zones with Exactrix Variable Rate. EO.htm
Exactrix Sparging Reflow Blender
With Back Flush Capability