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Alfalfa interseeded with Bermuda anyone?


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#1 somedevildawg

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 08:22 PM

Hello to all...recently attended a consultation with UGA about interseededing alfalfa with coastal bermuda. Wanted to know how many of you guys are doing this, what your market is, and problems you have encountered. Looks like the seed of choice is bulldog 505 (I think). I looked at a field that is a study field here at the ABAC campus that was seeded at a rate of 25lbs per acre, boy was the alfalfa thick, I would say it was 75% alfalfa, it was interseeded in tift 44. Their studies showed a slowdown of the alfalfa in July and august but according to their research they are cutting 9 times a year, they cut the alfalfa right after blooms appear. Sounds interesting, but I need more info from people like you to base a decision as to seed this November. I know that I would have to spend a good deal of money on a few items to handle the alfalfa (rotary rake, conditioner, sprayer for preservative, etc) just putting some feelers out there, alfalfa is new to us....just thought it was that guy on the little rascals :) thanks for the input

#2 Blue Duck

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 01:22 PM

I seeded some alfalfa in Midland bermuda few years ago and did not like it. Timing of when to cut and getting it to dry evenly enough was the biggest problem. It seemed like the customers either wanted alfalfa or bermuda but not both.

#3 somedevildawg

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:08 PM

That's interesting news because I thought that would be the problem with an even dry down. Did you happen to use a conditioner when you cut....I guess if you were doing silage it wouldn't matter, but for baling......Thanks for the input

#4 Blue Duck

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 01:11 AM

I used a JD 1600 with a roller conditioner. I think if I had used a tedder it would have helped a lot. Around here a tedder is a rare thing.

#5 somedevildawg

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 07:12 AM

Roger on the Tedder, where is your locale, west?

#6 Tim/South

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 09:24 PM

This is interesting.
I have toyed with the idea of trying to grow some alfalfa. I am in Alabama and have been told our soil would not make it worth while. I believe with us always needing to add lime, my soil would still be on the acidic side for alfalfa.
Does alfalfa need alkaline soil?

Is alfalfa normally seeded in the fall of the year?
I will admit my alfalfa ignorance up front.

#7 mlappin

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 09:38 PM

Can seed spring or fall, I prefer fall seeding myself.

Alfalfa needs a PH of 6.8-7.0

#8 somedevildawg

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 10:03 PM

Ditto on the ph, high cal lime instead of dolomite, Others recommendation, they insist dolomite is fine....one grower (dairy farmer) hits his fields with about 20-25lbs pa of N in July and august, no real probs with nematodes or disease has been reported out of ordinary. Like you Tim I am clueless about it...They drilled in the fall.

#9 Tim/South

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 01:53 PM

I wonder if it could be drilled into another grass, like Bahaia?

I just picked up a nice field of Bahaia.
Since both Bahaia and Bermuda's are warm season grasses and Alfalfa is a cool season legume, would they mix?
It seems both Bermuda and Bahaia would choke out the Alfalfa during the summer.
How often would the alfalfa need reseeding?

#10 somedevildawg

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 04:17 PM

They say 4-5 years, then rotate or leave in just Bermuda for a year, not sure about Bahai don't c why not.....yes yield of alfalfa is low in summer, Bermuda takes over, hats why the guy hit it with N, guess the alfalfa makes just enough for itself he bumps the Bermuda with N, the fields look nice, try to get some pics, they just cut last week....b interesting to c it progress through the summer... Was just planted last fall, looked like 2tpa last cut...not bad....my problem is equipment and no dairy farms around me, silage looks like the best market...easy...but what the heck do I know...squares seem like a pita with preservatives etc...just not sure....but 9 cuttings sounds real damn good

#11 vhaby

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 11:17 PM

Research on overseeding alfalfa into an established stand of Coastal bermudagrass was begun in the late 1980s by soil scientists located at Texas A&M- Overton. Results proved that the two forages could be successfully grown together. Yields were taken at 10% alfalfa bloom using a small plot forage hervester. Alfalfa was hand separated from the bermudagrass to determine the percentage of each forage in various plots.

Alfalfa row spacings were 9, 18, 27, and 36 inches with the seeding rate adjusted accordingly. Resulting data are published in the following web site for your further study. Once the web site is open, follow the steps outlined below the link.

http://overton.tamu.edu/

Click on pastures, forages, and soils
Click on AgriLife Article Search Database
Click on Keyword
Click on Alfalfa

This will bring up 71 articles from our work on alfalfa for your reading enjoyment.

This research included evaluating grazing trials and results of those studies also should be in that database.

To learn how to select Coastal Plain soils for successful alfalfa production, click on the following web site, also from research done by soil scientists at Texas A&M- Overton:

http://overton.tamu....sforAlfalfa.pdf
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#12 somedevildawg

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 10:02 PM

Thanks for info, UGA is pushing this fairly hard to us, I feel like I will probably do a field or two, just can't decide, would need some diff. Equipment to handle it with, not sure whether to put it on dry or wet land....just thinking about the whole ball of wax, total investment, income, etc.

#13 vhaby

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 12:24 PM

Alfalfa has to go on a well-drained soil. Cost for establishing alfalfa on Coastal Plain soils depends on how much limestone is needed to raise soil pH to 6.8-7.0 in the surface few inches. Total establishment cost for starting alfalfa is not much more than the cost of sprigging Tifton 85 bermudagrass in our region. Please carefully read the papers in the suggested web sites before deciding to go ahead with alfalfa. By the way, UGA Extension specialist have published an excellent brochure on alfalfa production. The only regret that I have is they didn't expound sufficiently on the need to evaluate subsoil pH in potential alfalfa fields on Coastal Plain soils.

#14 somedevildawg

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:45 PM

Yes, think that may be the reason I keep getting the recommendation to use high cal lime instead of dolomite, UGA says the dolomite is ok, farmers (who I lend a bit more credence) tell me to use the high cal....guess I need more research to understand the diff....don't get me wrong about the farmer/researcher deal...I use the extension service and our UGA connections to there fullest, great people doing really good work, without them I would be lost, they analysis my soil tests, my hay samples, and make all my fert. Recommendations and I willingly go with what they recommend....but experience has shown me in my analysis that if a guy that's been making a living doing something gives you his recommendation of what works for him....you owe it to yourself to listen just as hard as you would the research numbers. No disrespect intended. Thanks for the links, great stuff...

#15 vhaby

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 11:12 PM

I don't understand the reason your neighbors prefer calcitic limestone (high calcium/low magnesium) limestone unless there is a great price difference. Yes, dolomitic limestone is a harder rock and therefore is somewhat slower to dissolve than calcitic limestone. However, dolomitic limestone contains much more magnesium for a soil that is low in magnesium. If you apply dolomitic limestone well in advance of when you need your soil pH corrected, the result will be favorable, provided the fineness of the dolomitic limestone is similar to the fineness of calcitic limestone.

It's like if you need soil test results in a hurry, why didn't you submit the samples for analysis several weeks ago...apply the dolomitic limestone much earlier than when you need to have the pH adjusted for the crop to be planted.

Some of the coarser calcitic limestones are also slow to react to change pH. Effective Calcium Carbonate Equivalence (ECCE) is a term that combines limestone particle size and calcium carbonate equivalence, or CCE, (neutralizing value) to determine the reactivity of a limestone. A coarse ground limestone with a CCE of 100% will be much slower reacting than a fine limestone with the same CCE. Limestone particles coarser than 8 mesh are relatively ineffective for neutralizing soil acidity. Increasing smaller limestone particles become increasingly more reactive, dissolving more rapidly, and raising soil pH much quicker and to a higher value. Because the finer limestone raises pH to a higher level, the duration of the pH change will last longer.




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