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Old 02-27-2012, 04:41 PM
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Default Re-Planting Alfalfa

I read in a recent QW article on re-planting alfalfa a recommendation to wait two winters before re-planting alfalfa after killing off the field. I killed off one alfalfa field last summer and put a cover crop of wr in Sept. In the past, I rotated fields so this was not an issue - but I want to keep alfalfa in this spot. I had planned to re-plant this fall. Any advice on the wait period before re-planting alfalfa?

-fsh
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Old 02-27-2012, 05:40 PM
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If the alfalfa stand you wish to replant is less than a year old it may work. Alfalfa produces basically a toxin targeting itself allowing an existing stand not to over populate its self. The mature plants in the stand are not effected but new growth is. Plant at least one rotation into something different and plant alfalfa again the following year.
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Old 02-27-2012, 08:58 PM
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If you look at my other posts you will see I am pretty good at growing alfalfa for hay and not so good in small plots that are not cut and baled As for your question, I have never had a problem replanting so long as I planted a grain or buckwheat in the spring after plowing under the alfalfa and then planting new alfalfa in the fall. I have planted A LOT of alfalfa this way and never had a problem.
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Old 02-28-2012, 12:19 PM
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Would you be better off to get some corn in there and use some of the nitrogen from the alfalfa?
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Old 02-28-2012, 05:56 PM
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Thanks for the replies guys. The alalfa was planted in '07 and has been thinning out. Sandbur - I didn't want to go to corn (or sunflowers) because I want to get this field back into alfalfa - it's a magnet for hens w/poults in the spring/summer.

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Old 02-29-2012, 05:36 AM
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At least get one rotation with a grass crop. Maybe spring oats followed by replant of alfalfa with a cover crop of Winter rye or Winter wheat. The risk will be more doing it this way but it is the quickest rotation I would consider in a pinch. I personally would plant one season with corn before coming back in with Alfalfa.

The reason I say this is two fold. One it allows a full year to let the lime application begin working/adjusting. Two is the auto-toxicity, and making sure it is no longer a concern. They don't give Alfalfa seed away and I am not a betting man. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:13 AM
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Smallplot
The local lime service spread 2500# of lime/A last year (I have yet to do a soil test this year, but I expect the pH will be close to 7.0). I do have a crop of winter rye (wr) in the field now, planted last Sept after I nuked the field, and I was going to let the rye go to seed before replanting.

-fsh
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