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Disc harrow for alfalfa

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02-28-1999 17:31:25

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I would like to plant some alfalfa in an area
that has natural grasses now. The soil is sandy
with about 2 inches of top soil. Can i disc this and plant or plow? If I plow will I turn over all the top soil? Would a disc with a serrated front row do a better job than a discer with round front and rear rows? Any help would be appreciated.

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Brian P.

03-06-1999 20:19:15

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 Re: Disc harrow for alfalfa in reply to WAYNE, 02-28-1999 17:31:25  

If the soil is that fragile I recommend not tearing it up at all, it will probably just dry out and blow before the alfalfa gets up. Alfalfa can be no tilled very successfully. Spray the native grass with two quarts minimum of Roundup to kill - the dead grass will act as a cover and hold moisture to help the alfalfa get started. Plant with a no till drill (John Deere 750's with a grass seed box are great). Hire someone who knows what they are doing - alfalfa should not be planted deeper than 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep, maybe 1" in light sand. Make sure your soil ph is at least 6.5 - 7.0 or above is best. If your ph is low, treat with lime at least 6 months prior to seeding. On the other hand, consider leaving the native grass. Most of them are nutritious and palatable and the fact that they are growing there now says that they are very well adapted to the soil and moisture conditions present. Alfalfa is expensive to grow and maintain, needing high amounts of lime, potash and must be sprayed for weeds, weevils and leafhoppers.

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