Tips for Alfalfa and Forage Seed Selection

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There are three key considerations that factor into alfalfa and forage seed selection, according to Bob Marquette, agronomist at Federated's Albertville location.

First, consider farm management practices : How many cuttings will be taken? How well is the crop managed? How quick is the regrowth? The answers to those questions, said Marquette, "narrows [seed choices] down quite a bit."

Second, determine the weed control options, especially with an alfalfa/grass seed mix. "Will you be using conventional weed control, or a Round-Up Ready® option?" Marquette asked. Obviously, the Round Up will kill the grasses.

Third, identify the disease or insect concerns for the fields under consideration. Low lying areas are prone to diseases, caused by the wetter conditions, and "there are varieties that are bred to address that issue," said Marquette.

Insects are also a big problem in alfalfa - leaf hoppers in particular - and there are "varieties that help keep the leaf hoppers away," Marquette said, adding that these varieties "allow you to not have to spray as often - but you'll still have to spray."

Seed selection for alfalfa and forage is not cut and dried, but your Federated Agronomist can help you make the best choices. "[Growers] know what's been happening in their fields," said Marquette. "Let us look at your fields . . . together we can make a good recommendation for your needs."