Study to unlock alfalfa yields

New research should help growers increase alfalfa productivity.

National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance associate director Jon Dockter says the goal of the study was to identify relationships between alfalfa yields and factors like management practices and soil fertility.

“To see what you can do as a grower to enhance your alfalfa yields, and what those things are that can improve yields because over the last 20 years the yield curve for alfalfa has been fairly flat.”

He tells Brownfield the number of cuts, manure application, and the use of potassium and sulfur in the first year of the crop helped maximized alfalfa yields.

“And what that does is kind of sets up the stand to produce more effectively moving forward. So that’s what the study found and we’re hoping that the information will encourage growers to implement some of these practices if they aren’t already to enhance those yields and make it more competitive with other forages.”

Principle investigator Nicole Tautges with the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute says these findings highlight the significance of maintaining a good nutrient supply to ensure higher alfalfa yields throughout the stand’s life.

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