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Discussion Board - Continuous Beans/Alfalfa Questions

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Author  [Modern View]

08-03-2012 06:21:44

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I have 2 questions for more experienced farmers on here. I am expanding my 60 acre row crop operation, may be picking up 50 acres erodible marginal crop ground. I don't want to farm marginal ground but I'm hobby/part-time and can't compete with the big farmers for the good ground. I'm experienced with normal corn/bean on good ground.

1. Is there any problem with continuous no-till beans? Do I need to plant corn in every 4 years or can I get by continuous beans with plenty of P and K? I want to keep inputs low as possible and also I don't think deep tillage for corn would be possible without washing the land down stream.

2. (unrelated) I bale hay on my Father-In-Law's 15 acres. It has just been grass for years, part was planted alfalfa but that was 15 years ago. We are wanting to re-seed alfalfa. Should I spray the existing with 2-4-d and no-till with the FSA 7.5" drill? Or moldboard, disk it and broadcast it followed by a cultipacker? Fertilizer advice? Time of year to plant?

Row cropping his ground isn't an option and haying any of the aforementioned marginal ground near me isn't an option either, his place is 30 miles away and I keep the hay equipment there and I run row crop around my place.

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Scott 730

08-03-2012 16:36:59

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 Re: Continuous Beans/Alfalfa Questions in reply to MF Poor, 08-03-2012 06:21:44  
Just had an article in the Beyond the Bean newsletter from the United Soybean Board about a guy that has planted continuous soybeans for I believe about 18 years. It can be done with proper management.

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08-03-2012 11:14:18

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 Re: Continuous Beans/Alfalfa Questions in reply to Nice, 08-03-2012 06:21:44  
When I first started thought seriously about a bean/wheat rotation and not screw around with corn which requires additional expensive equipment. However in the midwest you got to raise corn to be a "real" farmer, and usually it is the biggest money maker.

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08-03-2012 11:03:57

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 Re: Continuous Beans/Alfalfa Questions in reply to Nice, 08-03-2012 06:21:44  
In some areas beans on beans work. In others the fungus/ mold/ etc builds up and it is a real problem. Don't think you gave your location or conditions.

Corn on corn works better these days with the technology we have.

It is easy to plant corn into lightly worked bean stubble, your problem will be dealing with the corn stubble to put beans in.

I'll do beans on beans from time to time, but I'd be scared to plan it as a long term thing.

As well you are losing out on the buuilt up N the beans give you.

Alfalfa, you need to kill the old alfafla plants and let it sit for at least 3 good growing type months (a full year is better) so the auto-toxins go away. At 15 years old perhaps there are very few alfalfa plants left, but they will make a 2 foot circle around each plant that will not want to sprout a new alfalfa seedling.....

Seeding alfalfa in spring and catch the rains is good, the weeds will outgrow them but clip it & good to go.

Of late they have been planting in fall, late August 'here' and catching the fall rains, less weeds and makes a great start for the alfala next year, full crop.


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08-03-2012 07:15:31

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 Re: Continuous Beans/Alfalfa Questions in reply to Nice, 08-03-2012 06:21:44  
dont follow a legume with a legume.Continuos bean simply wont work,because the beans cannot stand the high nitrogen built up over time ,since they need a very little nitrogen when small,but dont like it afterwards.Same way with your alfalfa,put in corn,wheat oats or something in to use that excess nitrogen for two or three years then replant.thats basically why corn/bean rotation works.the corn needs the nitrogen,so it uses the excess that would kill back your an example,peas used to be early on the number one crop in okla.Several seasons of pea on pea led to the failure of the crop statewide.left folks with nothing in the middle of summer too early to plant peas again so they planted cotten,made bumper crops until nitrogen levels went down again.then they switched to wheat or corn.cotten if you can manage it is a good crop,following these things.needs less water than corn,and it mellows the ground.old saying around is you can plant anything after cotten and it will do well.but cotten requires a lot of equipment folks dont have.another thing would be sunflowers.big user of nitrogen,deep roots that will help break up the subsoil for better water retention and usage.and fairly easy to plant with equipment you already have. market would be the thing there,if you have a market in your area,that would be feasable to haul to its a good crop.and it will grow with little rainfall.sorguhm, barley,oats wheat cotten all these things would work in a rotation but you need to get rid of that nitrogen.sudan grass if you bale hay can be a good one also that grows about anywhere,and properly cured makes good hay.

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