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Shaggy98
Senior Advisor

Crop rotation following Alfalfa

I've got a 40 acre parcel of river bottom ground that has been in alfalfa for 5 years, I think I can get a 6th out of it but that is about it.  My question is what crop to follow it.  I was considering corn or grain sorghum.  I have never raised corn before but we have grown sorghum for years and am very familiar with it.  I am also curious if I can kill the alfalfa in the spring with chemical and then notil directly into it without tillage.  All the publications I've read on the computer all talk of plowing the alfalfa first.  Anyone have any experience or suggestions?

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6 Replies
nwobcw
Advisor

Re: Crop rotation following Alfalfa

  I have a similar situation.  I plan on spraying it yet this fall with 2-4-D and RU so it can rot over the winter.  But we have had so much rain I don't know if it'll get done.  I plan on no-tilling corn in it next year.

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Blacksandfarmer
Senior Advisor

Re: Crop rotation following Alfalfa

I would say you would be just fine no-tilling corn over hay that has been burned down but after 5 years of alfalfa you might have some compaction issues. Being that its on a river bottom no-till would probably be a good choice. You might want to run a subsoiler over that ground in the fall to reduce some of the compaction if you can.

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djsinseia
Frequent Contributor

Re: Crop rotation following Alfalfa

I typically hand rotation of hay fields in 1 of 2 ways.....either fall plow and plant to corn or take a cutting of hay off in the spring, spray to kill the hay stand and then plant/drill to soybeans.

 

I've always been hesitant to notill corn in to sod fields due to problems w/soil insects like wireworm, etc.  If it was mine and a bottom field that I assume lays fairly flat, I would plow it.  Turning under the alfalfa would provide some N but you will likely need to sidedress more.

 

On my rolling ground I take off the first crop of hay, hopefully around Memorial day and rotate to soybeans.  You can bale the hay, wait a week for some regrowth and then spray and plant or you can spray the standing hayfield w/glyphos, wait 24-48 hours, mow and bale and then plant beans.

 

You could also bale a crop of hay and then plant grain sorghum.....just depends how bad you need the hay.

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Pupdaddy
Advisor

Re: Crop rotation following Alfalfa

NWO, you might just be as well off leaving that alfalfa till spring. In your clay, if you use the alfalfa to pull some moisture out...you can spray it...at about 10-16 inches in heighth...and then go back and plant it a couple days later. If you use dicamba instead of 2,4-D..you might improve control, and gain just a little bit of residual with it.

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nwobcw
Advisor

Re: Crop rotation following Alfalfa

  Thx Pup I was going by what the agronomist at the elevator suggested.  I've never done it before.   I would probably just moldboard plow it if I had one and it wasn't so wet. 

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nwobcw
Advisor

Re: Crop rotation following Alfalfa

  Pupdaddy are you guys getting anything done there?   I was gonna go to Bucyrus last Thursday but when I went out in the morning to load cattle it was so cold, windy, and rainy I decided to wait till next week. LOL  I cut 35 acres last Monday and Tuesday, well, half a day Tuesday.   First year I can remember not needing the A/C to cut beans.

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