Alfalfa Soil Requirements - Variety Selection - Weed Management
There are over 200 known varieties of Alfalfa, but only 6-8 are used commercially at a great scale. Generally, different alfalfa varieties perform differently in various growing regions. You have to make a research on which variety is most used in your region for your intended use. Although alfalfa plants have great adaptability in various weather conditions, you have to check that there are cases of good yields of a potential variety in your region, before making a decision.
The preparation for the cultivation of alfalfa starts during the summer of the previous year. Many farmers add lime (through deep tillage) at a quantity of 4-5 tons per hectare. Lime is believed to increase the activity of nitrogen-fixing Rhizobium bacteria, while functioning as a soil conditioner. Some farmers also add 2-3 tons of manure per hectare and they plow deeply close to the day of seeding. Needless to say, you have to take into consideration the soil condition of your field through annual soil testing, before applying any nutrition or tillage method. Generally, when cultivating Medicago sativa, the last tillage usually takes place just the day before the sowing.
Although alfalfa is a well-adapted plant that usually gives good production for many years, it can be severely affected by weeds. Weeds compete with alfalfa plants in water and nutrient supply, resulting in thin and underperforming plants. Again you have to consult local farmers and/or agronomists in order to get the latest information on the most common weeds in your region. Then you have to plan a solid (pre and after sowing) weed management policy, taking into account the local legal framework. Some chemicals widely used in some countries are strictly forbidden in other countries.
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2. Alfalfa Soil Requirements - Variety Selection - Weed Management
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