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Alfalfa is a versatile crop, utilized in Kansas for pasture, hay, silage, greenchop, green manure, and as a cash crop of both hay and seed. As a cash crop, alfalfa has provided a more consistent return on investment than any of our major grain crops. See general information
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Alfalfa is grown over a wide range of soil and climatic conditions and has an important role in crop rotation through its positive effects on soil fertility, soil structure, and erosion control. It is a versatile crop, utilized in Kansas for pasture, hay, silage, greenchop, green manure, and as a cash crop of both hay and seed. As a cash crop, alfalfa has provided a more consistent return on investment than any of our major grain crops.
Choose the best soil possible to produce alfalfa. Deep, well-drained loam or clay loam soils are best. These soils possess the necessary characteristics for top production, that is, good water holding capacity and adequate infiltration rates. Alfalfa may be produced on less than ideal soils, but forage yield will suffer. Heavy clay soils are slowly permeable and tend to waterlog. Shallow soils reduce the root zone and water holding capacity. Soils with a high sand content do not possess the water holding capacity to maintain stands in periods of dry weather without supplemental irrigation.
The producer must plan ahead to successfully produce alfalfa. Soil pH should be near neutral and potassium and phosphate levels in the soil should be in the high range. In Kansas, a late summer (August-September) planting date is generally considered best. Later fall plantings may be attempted but run the risk of being killed by cold weather before seedlings become firmly established. Spring plantings of alfalfa are often successful, however, they entail a greater risk of being killed by cold weather before seedlings become firmly established. Early spring plantings run the risk of a late freeze, while late spring plantings may not allow the alfalfa plants enough time to establish an adequate root system prior to the onset of hot/dry weather. If spring planting is contemplated, usually mid-March thru mid-April planting dates are best.
Preparation of the seedbed is one of the most important factors in the successful establishment of alfalfa. The surface of the seedbed should be fine (free of clods) and firm. Below the surface, soil needs to be loose enough to allow seedling roots easy penetration. The surface must not be powdery, if conditions force the field to be worked more than what would be ideal, it is best to wait for a rain to settle and firm the surface.
Moisture at the surface of the seedbed is beneficial but not essential. In fact, successful alfalfa plantings are often made when the surface of the soil is dry. It is helpful when there is good moisture one to three inches below the surface.
Alfalfa must be planted shallow. Planting depths of ¼ to ½ inch are best. Generally, 12 to 16 pounds of seed per acre is required to insure good stands. Six to 8 pounds of seed per acre would be sufficient if all factors were ideal, but this is Kansas. Generally, higher seeding rates are needed in the eastern part of the state than in the western part.
AmeriGraze 401 + Z is a variety designed to withstand the heavy traffic associated with grazing livestock. It has very large crowns with high stem counts that ensure quality hay throughout the stand life. This is a true dual-purpose variety that may be utilized for grazing or haying or a combination of both. It is highly tolerant to the frequent defoliation by grazing or aggressive haying and offers excellent stand persistence.
AmeriGraze 401 +Z provides outstanding juvenile and adult resistance to Phytophthora root rot and Aphanomyces root rot and has resistance to pea aphid and stem nematode. This is a unique product that can provide producers with great flexibility in their management practices.
AmeriStand 403T is a unique plant type with exceptional traffic tolerance and resistance to Phoma crown rot - the “traffic disease”. These unique genetics are the result of more than a decade of parent stock selection to:
Ameristand 403T features deep-seated crowns with
finer stems and greater leaf mass, and larger roots that store more
energy promoting faster yield and stress recovery. Ameristand 403T
combines high resistance to all major alfalfa diseases with the best
wheel-traffic and grazing tolerance available.
Affinity + Z is a multiple pest resistant variety from America’s Alfalfa. Varieties designated +Z all have advanced seedling resistance to Phytophthora root rot and Aphanomyces root rot, which greatly improves stand establishment on wetter soils. Affinity +Z has a beautiful dark green color that enhances its marketability as commercial hay. It is an excellent yielding variety, even on fields where root rots are a threat. Affinity +Z is rated a 4 dormancy but has winterhardiness comparable to varieties grown in the far north. Because of its wide spectrum of disease and pest resistance, Affinity +Z remains productive in later stand years.
Total + Z is another America’s Alfalfa variety with advanced seedling disease resistance. This is a multi-leaf variety, which means that under good growing conditions it may express the ability to add additional leaves to the foliolates. This trait gives Total +Z a very leafy appearance and may significantly improve protein content. Total +Z offers excellent protection from all the major alfalfa diseases and is resistant to pea aphid and stem nematode. Total +Z has a fall dormancy rating of 3 but yields have consistently equaled or surpassed commercial varieties with a 4 dormancy.
Abilene+Z is a brand new release. This variety was actually selected in Kansas for high yield and drought tolerance. As with all the +Z varieties, Abilene +Z seedlings resist Phytophthora root rot and Aphanomyces root rot making it an excellent selection for heavier soils that tend to waterlog. It resists 10 High Plains pest problems, which results in longer and more productive stand life. Abilene +Z provides rapid recovery and regrowth after cutting, making it an ideal choice for growers with 5 - cut management schedules.
Cimarron 3i is the third improvement of the Cimarron alfalfa variety. As with the previous versions of this variety, Cimarron 3i is characterized by high yield, excellent forage quality, and long stand persistence. It offers large leaves and pronounced axillary branching that results in fine stems and high protein. Cimarron 3i’s excellent leaf disease resistance results in good leaf retention, allowing producers “to get it all” in the bale. Cimarron 3i also provides a moderate level of resistance to the alfalfa weevil. This resistance allows the producer to delay a decision to spray, and it may reduce the amount of insecticide needed by one half. In years with moderate infestation of weevil, Cimarron 3i may provide enough resistance to forego spraying entirely. Cimarron 3i’s multiple pest resistance, high yield potential, excellent forage quality, and its adaptation to all of Kansas make it a highly recommended variety.
HayGrazer is the advanced new alfalfa bred for hay and grazing. HayGrazer combines the high yields of top hay varieties with the grazability of the best grazing varieties. So you have the flexibility to graze, make hay, or combine haying and grazing. HayGrazer's versatility allows you to design your own system and maximize your profits. It represents 16 years of grazing research and selection for an alfalfa that gives high yields, yet persists under grazing. HayGrazer was bred from a cross between hay-type alfalfa and the Siberian Creeper. The hay-type parent provided high yield, high quality and pest resistance, while the Siberian Creeper parent provided a aggressive, branching root and crown system which provides for long life under grazing. HayGrazer has combined resistance to both phytophthora and aphanomyces root rots. HayGrazer is also surprisingly tolerant to defoliation by the alfalfa weevil. This tolerance can reduce the amount of insecticide needed for weevil contol by 50%.
AgVantage brand alfalfa is a blend of premium hay type varieties with a fall dormancy rating of 4.0. It is well adapted to all of Kansas, and producers may plant AgVantage brand alfalfa on most soil types (as long as it is reasonably well drained). AgVantage provides excellent hay yields and will tolerate frequent cutting to maximize hay quality.
DeLange Seed guarantees that AgVantage brand alfalfa will have good levels of resistance to the major alfalfa diseases: Bacterial Wilt, Verticillium Wilt, Fusarium Wilt, Anthracnose, Phytophthora Root Rot and Aphanomyces Root Rot. This product offers a compromise to producers who want a premium multiple pest resistant alfalfa variety but desire a more economical price.
VNS Alfalfa (variety not stated) is locally harvested alfalfa, suited for the growing conditions of Kansas. Seed is cleaned and tagged 85% pure, with a 90% germination. VNS alfala seed is not pre-inoculated. Alfalfa appropriate inoculant is available for sale.
In the past, there was a distinct strain of Kansas Common Alfalfa. Today, there is no such "common" strain. It has been replaced by VNS alfalfa. As alfalfa varieties have been improved over the years, more and more farmers planted varieties as opposed to local strains. Most alfalfa varieties have been accorded the protection of PVPA (Plant Variety Protection Act) which prohibits the seed increase and resale of these materials by variety name without the permission of the breeder or owner of the genetics. Therefore, whenever alfalfa seed is harvested in Kansas, it is brought in to a conditioning plant without any variety designation. So VNS alfalfa may be a blend of common strains, older varieties and newer varieties. Some lots may be superior in performance while another lot may be average or below average.
DeLange Seed makes every attempt to determine the origin and history of each lot of VNS alfalfa seed we offer for sale. When purchasing VNS alfalfa, producers should look first to the origin of the seed. Alfalfa seed grown in Kansas or the immediately surrounding states will most likely perform better than seed produced in northern regions of the United States or Canada. This is due to the fall dormancy of the northern cultivars. In the more northern regions, alfalfa varieties generally have a fall dormancy rating of 2 or lower, while in Kansas generally the varieties planted are rated a 4 dormancy. A fall dormancy of 2 means that the alfalfa will green up later in the spring and quit sooner in the fall. This greater dormancy generally results in lower total production.
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