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Discussion Board - no till alf alfa

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01-14-2013 10:42:59

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Has anyone tried this? If so how did it work for you?

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01-16-2013 08:01:00

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 Re: no till alf alfa in reply to Animal, 01-14-2013 10:42:59  
I've had absolutely great success with no-tilling (pure stand)alfalfa. need to plan ahead and have the existing field rid of most weeds prior to establishment. I've had old stands of fescue and orchardgrass that I sprayed with 2-4D the previous year to clean them up of broadleaf weeds. I used the 2-4D twice during the year, once in spring and then again in the fall. The next spring I sprayed the field TWICE with roundup at a 10 day interval. I probably checked the drill a half dozen times to ensure I wasn't getting the seed too deep. The ground also needs to be dry (or workable)so as to get good seed to soil contact. Once established, you'll need to spray for grass using a product called "Clethodim". It works wonderfully to control crabgrass and foxtail. Do NOT skimp on the seeding rate. I use 25-30 pounds to ensure a "great" stand. THe higher seeding rate also helps to overcome "mechanical" errors of the seeder. A thick dense stand almost totally eliminates weeds. Your stand will start to thin over time due to normal "attrition" or loss of plants. If you have more plants to begin with this helps in the reduction of stand and increases the stand life. No-till alfalfa works, but take your time and do it right the first time.

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01-15-2013 16:45:08

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 Re: no till alf alfa in reply to Animal, 01-14-2013 10:42:59  
I do it all the time direct drilled into grass sod following a glyphosate burn down. It works great but you do need to baby sit the drill and make sure your seed depth is correct. I rent the SCD JD 17something drill and you really need to get off the tractor and get on your hands and knees alot and make sure you are not just broadcasting or seeding too deep. I have had great luck, my neighbor bad luck.

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01-15-2013 09:03:12

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 Re: no till alf alfa in reply to Animal, 01-14-2013 10:42:59  
I no-tilled a mix of alfalfa and orchard grass with a dab of clover and timothy back in 2004. Went right into soybean stubble. I actually followed the combine. This was the first week of September and I used a JD 750 drill. It was coming up good with timely rains and then winter came early. We got an ice storm that covered everything with an inch of ice, then the cold and snow came. I thought all was lost. As it turns out the ice and snow insulated the crop and the ground never froze underneath. Up until our drought last year I was still averaging 4 ton an acre. We are dry land and this is in heavy soil with minimal fertilizing.

Casey in SD

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cooney minnie

01-15-2013 05:42:02

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 Re: no till alf alfa in reply to Animal, 01-14-2013 10:42:59  
I've seeded 100 acres or so per year for he last 20 years with a JD 750.


*In spring, set the drill in the shallowest position.(750 deere) If summer seeding, like after wheat, go one hole deeper.

*Try to avoid seeding into very dense corn stubble. The seed will germinate, but the stalks shade the ground, and the plants will grow more slowly. I usually seed the spring after corn silage harvest, and if the ground is steep, plant a cover crop after silage until the following spring.

*Start with a clean field. You will not need roundup ready alfalfa, but should definitely consider a round-up burndown prior to planting, even if seeding early.

I have never lost a stand no-tilling alfalfa. It is fast, easy, and low cost. your fields will be smoother, so less dirt in the hay, too.

In my neighborhood, there were stands that were lost to the drought... and all were tilled fields. My agonomist was amazed at our stands. Minimal weeds, healthy plants. The only difference was we did not seed new weeds with tillage in spring, and conserved moisture by not working the soil.

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01-14-2013 19:38:46

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 Re: no till alf alfa in reply to Animal, 01-14-2013 10:42:59  
Im actually going to plant my first convention this spring in over a decade. Got 10 acres in a tiled bottom that I'm going to try some RR alfalfa on. Best chance of a perfect stand is conventional but no til can and will work. Ive been 100% notil during that time with around 200 acres alfalfa in current production. Biggest, most absolutely important step is to get the drill set right. They want to go too deep, esp in spring. I use coated seed rather than trying to make that sticky mess of mixing innoculant. Will probably notil another 50 acres of timothy and orchardgrass, half of which I may add alfalfa to.

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01-14-2013 17:14:45

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 Re: no till alf alfa in reply to Animal, 01-14-2013 10:42:59  
Pretty good luck using a heavy 35 foot tillage disc, then a 35 foot finish disc in some burned CRP. Lots of switchgrass roots. Planted with a MDS Porto seeder. If you do much grains or grasses that is the cat's meow. Intermediate wheat grass in the box, and the alfalfa in the Gandy box. Pulled three section spike tooth harrow behind it. Broadcasts up to a 35 foot swath. I was planting for pheasant DNC.

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01-14-2013 12:49:59

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 Re: no till alf alfa in reply to Animal, 01-14-2013 10:42:59  
I tried it into corn stubble one year. We didn't have much moisture and I didn't want to lose any to tillage. It actually turned out alright. The first cut had a lot of stalks in it. I also tried it into grass one time. Sprayed roundup, planted it. Complete failure. Guess you can say I had mixed results.


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01-14-2013 12:20:18

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 Re: no till alf alfa in reply to Animal, 01-14-2013 10:42:59  
We planted some with the neighbors 750 Deere. It didn't work too bad but the problem we found was getting even depth going over hill crests and through dips. You just about have to run the other way in those instances. No more than we do nowadays we just work it down and use the brillion roller seeder we have instead of borrowing or renting something else.

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01-14-2013 11:27:06

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 Re: no till alf alfa in reply to Animal, 01-14-2013 10:42:59  
I used to rent the Vermeer notil drill from the SCD and notil it in to wheat stubble. Worked great as long as it had rain soon before or after it was planted.
They sold the drill and I stopped growing wheat,so it's been a while.

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