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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My brother does a little cash crop and we are considering rotating the alfalfa field out into Corn to harvest the nitrogen and begin a rotation which will save on fertilizer costs.

I am sure many here have rotated Alfalfa into Corn. We are wondering if we can just spray the alfalfa and disc it up or whether we should pull the plow out?
 

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It would of been best to spray it last fall,you get a way better kill on alfalfa sprayed in the fall.
A pure alfalfa stand don’t work bad to work with a disc or field cult and plant corn in but it has much grass and sod it may be hard to make a decent seed bed for corn.No till could be a option also.

Done it many times in spring after deciding stand was to thin after winter kill.Dig it,plant it.Spray a pre,Spray a post with Roundup and Dicamba.

Put down 50 lbs N with P&K before working it.Grow some dang good corn doing this!
 

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If your corn planter is capable of no-till spray alfalfa with 24-d and glyphosate for grasses plant round ready corn and spray a post pass with glyphosate and a dicamba product. You can plow under alfalfa a foot tall and grow good corn or just hit it with a disc and field cultivator. Main thing is just like seeding hay getting the best stand you can with the planter you have. I no-tilled into sod this year and had 160 bushel per acre with by spraying twice and side dressing a little nitrogen. I planted $100 a bag non GMO corn. I wish I would of had round up ready as I did not get the best kill on my orchard grass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
If your corn planter is capable of no-till spray alfalfa with 24-d and glyphosate for grasses plant round ready corn and spray a post pass with glyphosate and a dicamba product. You can plow under alfalfa a foot tall and grow good corn or just hit it with a disc and field cultivator. Main thing is just like seeding hay getting the best stand you can with the planter you have. I no-tilled into sod this year and had 160 bushel per acre with by spraying twice and side dressing a little nitrogen. I planted $100 a bag non GMO corn. I wish I would of had round up ready as I did not get the best kill on my orchard grass.
We use a 6 Row White 6100. It's a good little planter. We have been getting good stands with it. Officially it is a no till, but we always Till anyway.

We were thinking of spraying then hitting it with the disc a couple of times around the field. We don't really have a decent plow at the moment, do you think there would be benefits to plowing with the deep roots of alfalfa? The field is 90pct alfalfa.

Do you think the orchard grass stole alot of your yield ? 20 bu/acre?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It would of been best to spray it last fall,you get a way better kill on alfalfa sprayed in the fall.
A pure alfalfa stand don’t work bad to work with a disc or field cult and plant corn in but it has much grass and sod it may be hard to make a decent seed bed for corn.No till could be a option also.

Done it many times in spring after deciding stand was to thin after winter kill.Dig it,plant it.Spray a pre,Spray a post with Roundup and Dicamba.

Put down 50 lbs N with P&K before working it.Grow some dang good corn doing this!
Thanks!

Did you plow it? Or just disc it after spraying. You spread the fertilizer before tilling it up I take it.

Yes ! It was winter killed this spring and I was being optimistic. We think rotating into corn will help with yields.
 

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We use a kinze econofold 12 row planter with the down pressure springs set up and row cleaners just barely touching the ground. I do think not getting a good kill on the orchard grass took some yield because we had a cool May when we planted and it took longer for it to die. Even in a cool spring a couple warm days and the grass gets growing. You could see on the headlands and in the wedge of the field where we overlapped on the burn down and also in parts of the field that had more alfalfa then grass the corn looked better. If you no-till watch your speed with 12 rows we go between 3 and 4 mph. The planter is less likely to try and ride up out of the ground. Also if you have fertilizer on the planter don't let it run low, keeps a little more weight in it. Your dying alfalfa roots loosen the ground and give the corn roots a place to go. The only time notilling in alfalfa is a problem is if the field has compaction issues from harvesting in wet conditions. Anyway that's how it works for us I do know that in some areas with different soils and different weather it may not always work as good. I don't know what your target planting day is there we try to plant corn the first week of May if you can spray burn down the week before it would be good. And we try to plant 2 inches deep.
 

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We have done an alfalfa/corn rotation for as long as I’ve been on this earth. Tried pretty much everything. Used to plow the alfalfa out in the spring with a mold board plow. Worked good but with today’s fuel price, well, nah. Herbicide in the fall works, but 2,4-D + glyphosate is not always 100% effective on gly tolerant alfalfa. Don’t try to tear out alfalfa with a field cultivator, that is a good way to destroy a field cultivator. The firm soil and the crowns will tear up the shank pivots in a hurry. A finisher works pretty well as the cultivator shanks don’t have to do all the work. A heavy disk works too but follow that up with a finisher or a field cultivator before the worked soil gets rained on or you may have an unworkable mess; your soil type milage may vary. We no tilled once too with excellent success. I would go that way if possible as essentially an alfalfa field is already a no till soil structure.
 
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If you keep it no-till you will conserve more of the nitrogen in the soil. Working the ground up will just allow more to escape into the air.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Update:

We are looking at rotating the alfalfa field into Soybeans. This will save us some setup time because the field with the winter kill that we want to rotate out of is only 22 acres. We are growing soybeans on our other farm and it saves setup time on the planter, but mostly because we ordered the seed early we can top up at the same lower price.

Are there any unique considerations going to beans? I assume the benefits would be best with corn but we will get some of that with beans as well.

We also had one other idea, that we could take the first cut off in early June, which would still likely yield decently, then spray the field down and try to get some beans in by late June. Has anyone ever tried this? The field is a bit of a wet one so we would likely till it up late anyway, so if we delay a few weeks, take the first cut we might be able to pull out 1.5 crops. We are in SW Ontario, beans would usually go in end of may/early june. We would target to have them in by June 30th. Rain could be an issue.
 

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If you want to take a cutting off and go to beans you could spray Roundup 24+ hrs before cutting it and you would get a better kill because of more leaf surface.I’ve never done this but seen a nieghbor do it onetime,looked to work well.

well that’s if it’s not RR alfalfa.

Im considering doing this on a grass field that gotten thin and bluegrass is starting to take over.
 
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