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Late summer can be ideal opportunity to seed an alfalfa crop

It’s late summer already. Kids are going back to school, and soon fall will be in the air. It’s also a prime time to seed alfalfa.

“Late summer can be an excellent opportunity to establish forage crops, especially this year, because growers faced significant weather issues in the spring and might be looking for alternative planting options,” says Craig Marsh, Syngenta agronomist.

Here are tips for successful seeding:

• Seed as early as possible. Plant at least six to eight weeks before first average frost for a good root system.

• Plant seed in firm and moist ground. Seed when moisture is adequate or when a rain system is forecast, as warmer and drier weather can increase the risk of moisture stress.

• Avoid planting immediately after older established alfalfa. Older alfalfa stands tend to have autotoxicity issues.

Advantages of late summer

Late-summer seeding has advantages:

It’s an opportunity for growers whose soils were too heavy and poorly drained from spring floods to now plant.

Weed and insect infestation isn’t usually a problem.

Yields from summer seeding typically are higher during the first production year than spring-seeding yields.

“I would encourage growers to contact their local Syngenta agronomist for advice on navigating weather concerns and summer seeding, since issues can vary so greatly by area,” Marsh says.

Syngenta offers a range of alfalfas including NK brand alfalfa varieties with Genuity Roundup Ready technology.

This article published in the September, 2011 edition of THE FARMER-STOCKMAN.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2011.