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The sun doesn’t set on summer seeding alfalfa

August 5, 2022

Adequate on-farm hay inventories, lucrative commodity markets, and cool, wet weather all combined to create the lowest number of seeded alfalfa acres this past spring according to the USDA. The window for desirable planting conditions closed almost as soon as it was open, forcing many to abandon what few alfalfa acres they planned on sowing and switch them to corn or soybeans to take advantage of the profit potential at fall harvest.

Luckily, planting alfalfa doesn’t begin and end in the spring like other crops. Summer seeding alfalfa is an efficient and productive option for establishing a healthy stand while capitalizing on the yield potential of a full production year the following growing season. With last-minute changes to spring cropping plans this might be the ideal year to consider summer seeding alfalfa.


Higher yield Lack of Moisture
Lower Weed Competition Early Frost
Lower Root Rot Disease Risk Herbicide Residual
Less Insect Pressure  
Flexible Manure Management  
Reduced Spring Planting Workload  

The two most important factors to ensure successful establishment are: 1) planting date and 2) soil moisture.

A good recommendation is to allow for at least six weeks of growth before the first expected frost. For the Dairyland Seed territory in the Upper Midwest, this equates to an ideal planting date range of August 1st to August 15th.

Monitor existing soil moisture and weather forecasts when making your planting decision. Additionally, minimum-till or no-till systems are recommended to avoid soil moisture loss.

Regardless of whether it’s sown in spring or summer, a firm seedbed with seed placement from ¼ to ½ inch deep is ideal with a planting rate of 16 to 20 lbs/acre to provide maximum yield potential.

Work with your Dairyland Seed representative to determine if summer seeding is right for your operation.


More solutions from: Dairyland Seed Co., Inc.

Website: http://www.dairylandseed.com

Published: August 5, 2022

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