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Agricultural News

OSU Forage Specialist Alex Rocateli Says Window is Closing Fast For Spring Planted Alfalfa

Thu, 01 Apr 2021 08:09:38 CDT

OSU Forage Specialist Alex Rocateli Says Window is Closing Fast For Spring Planted Alfalfa Spring planted alfalfa is much more challenging than fall planting because of weather related issues said Alex Rocateli, OSU Extension forage systems specialist.

Rocateli provided an update on the stateís alfalfa crop during a recent interview with Radio Oklahoma Agriculture Network Associate Farm Director and Editor KC Sheperd.

Most Oklahoma producers plant alfalfa in the fall but some have had limited success with spring planting, he said.

Fall-planted alfalfa will grow until killing frost. The crop will begin to grow again in March when that plant has already established a root system, he said.

However, when you plant alfalfa in the spring, hot, dry conditions occur rapidly, and weeds and weevils rapidly reproduce and compete with the young alfalfa.

The spring window is closing quickly as mid-March to mid-April is the best time frame, he said.

The new Roundup ready alfalfa makes it easier to control weeds for spring-planted alfalfa.

Location for alfalfa fields is critical as the fields must have good drainage and fertility.

Soil Ph must be about 6.5, he said.

Soils that hold too much moisture is not good as alfalfa does not tolerate wet soils, he said.

The best alfalfa variety depends on location and other factors, Rocateli said.

Winter survival is the biggest trait to select for in Oklahoma, he said.

Other things to consider is forage yield and insect and disease susceptibility, Rocateli said.

The OSU forage specialist encouraged producers to review test results from all the field variety trials around the state.

He started a survey earlier this year and producers can still access the survey online by clicking here.

This will help us develop new research and put out new materials to help producers, he said.

Click on the listen bar below to hear more of KCís interview with OSU forage specialist Alex Rocateli.


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