I currently have 30 acres of alfalfa that needs to be torn up. It has been in production for a long time and hasn't been as productive.
I would like to take 1st cutting off and no-till soybeans into the standing alfalfa, then kill the alfalfa with RoundUp. I think it will be worth getting one cutting simply so I don't have to buy as much hay next year.
My question is, does anybody have experience seeding new alfalfa. I have a 30 acre field with good access where I am going to put it, but this will be my first go seeding. Work the ground early spring and drill the alfalfa with outs? Should I look at a different hay mix all together?? We grind hay and feed MWDG....its not like I need all that much alfalfa.....hell I would rather look at an option for more tonnage that can still be feed in a hay feeder and not ground.
Looking for any feedback, good or bad. Some do's and don'ts would be appreciated.
Thanks a million.
The soil needs to be very firm. When I am deciding if it's ready to plant I put a pair of leather soled boots on and walk across the field. IF there as anywhere that the soft dirt goes above the sole it's too soft. I personally like to drill my alfalfa by itself in the fall. About a month or so before killing frost. Around here it's a LOT harder to get a stand in the spring because of the hard rainfall we sometimes get, and the emerging weeds always seem to be more persistant. I tried last spring to no'till 20 acres, but we didn't get a drop of rain on it all spring or summer so obviously it didnt' work. If you have any questions I will try to answer.
We always plant a mix of timothy and alfalfa new seedings with oats as a nurse crop. The oats grow up quickly to suppress weeds and the grain produced helps pay for the alfalfa seed plus we bale the straw for cow bedding. The target planting date for around here is late March to early April, but last year with the weather we weren't able to get it in till June. Oats can also be baled for hay when its between the boot and early heading stage. We've had good success feeding round bales of oats to beef cows in January when the temperature is in the teens.
We always put lime on in the fall, chisel and disc the following spring, spin fertilizer on and make a finishing pass with a cultimulcher. We use a grain drill with a grass seeder attatchment. Planting depths and seeding rates are:
~3 bu/A for oats (which is a little heavy if you ask me) @ 1-1.5 inch depth
10 lb/A alfalfa and 4 lb/A timothy or 15-18 lb/A for alfalfa alone @ 0.5 inch depth
After planting we go back over with the cultimulcher but with the tines raised to cultipack the ground.
I would plant in spring with a nurse crop of oats and seed a grass or two along with the alfalfa. I like orchardgrass, brome grass, and low alkaloid reed canary grass.
we use bean ground as a start with very little stubble we disk it once twice if needed then run a culitmulcher over it then broadcast the seed right with the fertilizer then like dave we run the mulcher over it again with out the tines we put on 2 and half bu of oats and same as dave for alfalfa but we use rye grass instead of orchard grass if we do a mix hay seeding due to the fact orchard grass takes over the field faster, we also cut the oats at head and wet wrap the bales I know this is the beef group but if you wanna see cows milk feed them that we milk 40 and when we start feeding those bales we have to feed 2 a day compared to one of pure alfalfa wet wrap we have just found no tilling a hay seeding into wheat stubble or drilling it just dose not work for us plus broadcasting seed and fertilizer at same time makes one less pass on the field.
Ok; Dad and I have been rethinking where we want the new seeding. Does anybody have any experience planting hay ground following corn? I disked the stalks down this fall, and the cows ran on it early. It ties into the rest of my pasture very nicely and is in a conducive spot. It will be easy to haul hay off of and I could double utilize it as an early fall stockpile for the cows before we take them to stalks. That is the only reason we are thinking of transitioning this corn field to hay.
What is the best luck you have had concerning fertilizer? We grid sample all our farms. I don't know if the stalks were pulled this year or the year prior, but I know I will have soil samples on the field that will potentially go to hay.
I truly appreciate the feedback. All the comments I get are keeping my brain rolling. Keep them coming. Thanks a million.
Dave; I'll get a pic of what the stalks look like after I knocked them down once. I think I am going to have to get a heavier disk or hit the damn things 2 more times before I will be comfortable with the seedbed this spring. The trouble is I have no idea what the winter will do to the ground if winter ever shows up......hopefully have pic up later.
Might be concerned with last years herbicide applied to the the corn field. I would say work it and work it. Then pack it, broadcast seed it with fertilizer, then pack again and pray for good growing weather. Spring weather also plays a major role in how it gets done.
What we do is for a new seeding is always plant into bean stubble, the nitrogen fixated by the beans help the oats and seeding get off to a good start.The alfalfa will of course also fix nitrogen, but I believe it's not until about 6 inches of height. The most important thing to do before seeding alfalfa is to check the pH. Alfalfa likes soil a little more alkaline than corn/soybeans. Alfalfa 6.9 compared to 6.5, it's important to apply lime before seeding preferably six months to a year before seeding, so it has time to change pH. It's also important because once the seeding is in place it's impossible to incorporate the lime and just putting it on the surface only raises the pH of the top couple inches of soil. For small seed like this seed-soil contact is very important, we usually disk the bean stubble 1-2 times and hit it with the cultipacker. For our beef cows we try and shoot for a 60% grass 40% alfalfa mix. It's somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 lbs. orchard grass 4 lbs. endophyte-free fescue and 8 lbs. alfalfa. Hope this helps you some, were you by change in the ICA young cattlemen's leadership program?
We always take the first cutting then no-till corn. You get a bigger bang with that fixed nitrogen on corn. Make sure you get a little regrowth on the alfalfa or you wont get a good kill or you will have to come back overtop the corn with a post spray. I don't know if you chop any silage but we usally chop that corn then rip and work that ground then put winter wheat in. Next year after you take the wheat off soil sample it and put on what you need then in september go back to alflafa. The fall planted stuff always seems to do better for us because you have less of a weed pressure the you do with spring planted alfalfa. That just works good for us hoped that helped a little.