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When to fertilize alfalfa?


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#1 idahorancher

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 04:19 PM

So I'm new to raising alalfa and I was just wondering when is the best time to fertilize alfalfa? I've read a lot of different things and I've seen some people fertilize after the first cutting after alfalfa. I'm in Idaho and will only get three crops. Any thoughts on whether I should fertilize now before the first cutting? Or am I okay to wait until after the first cutting?



#2 PaulN

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 09:19 PM

Most people around here will fertilize after first cutting, simply because it's a convenient time for them. The most convenient time for me is before first cutting. I have more time then. I will pick a morning in late March when the ground is froze good and hard so I don't leave any ruts.

 

Another alternative, and maybe it's the best choice, is fall application. I've done that too. When you fertilize in the fall, the alfalfa will winter much better, and when spring comes, the field is ready to grow.

 

If this is your first time growing it, I would recommend one application after first cutting, and another one after third crop.



#3 Farmineer95

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 09:41 PM

For late season fertilizing you might check with local agronomist. In our area I was told that the plant should focus on storing energy in roots after last cutting for dormancy and spring greenup. If application is too close to dormancy the plant will grow upwards and reduce root energy reserves. Timing is key for last application. Also trying to spoon feed as opposed to a heavier rate once a year.

#4 Mellow

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Posted 12 April 2021 - 01:42 PM

If you are just planting it try to get as much P and K worked into the ground as you can before planting.  Alfalfa uses a lot of both and it takes a long time to get move in the soil when topdresssing.  Spoon feeding is also works and is needed for the boron and sulfur. which both move in the soil.






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