Nutrients Improve Hay Stand, Quality and Quantity


“Alfalfa and grass alfalfa mixed hay are a substantial investment to plant, and you want to extend the stand life, [it’s] longevity,” said Craig Loen, Federated agronomist at the Osceola location. “You want to get the highest quality and quantity.”

Nutrients are a major consideration because hay the “alfalfa and grass alfalfa mixes take a lot of nutrients from the soil,” said Loen, and those nutrients need to be replaced. Without adequate nutrients, not only does the value of the crop diminish but the nutritional benefit to dairy and beef cows, sheep, horses, etc. also declines.

“Both the pure alfalfa stands and the mixed hay stands will remove similar amounts of P, K, and S,” said Loen.

While only a soil test can determine the exact nutrient levels, given a 4 ton/ac. yield, removal is in the following ranges:

  • - Phosphorus (P2O5) at 48-54 ppm
  • - Potassium (K2O) at 196-206 ppm. 
  • - Sulfur (S) at appx. 22 ppm. 

To replenish the soil, preferably in split applications to allow the crop to best use the nutrients, apply:

  • - DAP at 104-113 lb./ac.
  • - Potash at 325-340 lb./ac.
  • - AMS at 92 lb./ac.

According to Loen, to enhance the consecutive quality and quantity of each harvest, a grass mix should also receive a spring application of N at 100 lb. of urea per acre, as well as an additional application of N at 50-75 lb. of urea per acre after each consecutive crop.

“As always,” said Loen, “talk to your local Federated Agronomist for more details.” Make nutrient plans now.