WHERE TO GROW ALFALFA

Site selection has the potential to impact yield, so choose the alfalfa field wisely. If seeding alfalfa the year after corn, carefully consider which herbicide program to use. Several pre-plant corn herbicides have rotational restrictions of 12 to 18 months, so make sure to follow label instructions when rotating to alfalfa. Minimizing trash or residue whenever possible is also important as alfalfa following corn can leave large amounts of residue in the field.

ALFALFA IN CROP ROTATION

Remember that using alfalfa as an element in crop rotation can have its benefits. Rotating alfalfa with corn or soybeans helps control pests and weeds and can often improve yields while reducing field inputs. For example, according to the USDA's Agricultural Research Service, "When an alfalfa field is plowed down, alfalfa residues provide all of the nitrogen needed by the following year's corn crop and one-half the nitrogen needed in the second year of corn production, cutting corn nitrogen fertilizer use by 75 percent over 2 years."

Be sure to talk with your local agronomist to see where alfalfa fits into your rotation and determine the best field to optimize for your forage crop.