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Alfalfa stand evaluation in early spring

Spring alfalfa stand evaluation

UPPER MIDWEST: Alfalfa is starting to green up in central and northern Wisconsin. As soon as spring regrowth gets to about 3 inches high, you should be able to get out and evaluate the crop. Don’t go too early – otherwise what you see could be misleading.

As you evaluate, consider both the number of plants per square foot and the age of the stand. Iowa State University Extension recommends that you select random stand count sites and check for any crown or root diseases by:

  • Digging up all of the plants in selected 1-square-foot areas.
  • Inspecting plants to determine if tissue is still alive and then counting the number of live plants per square foot.
  • Splitting the taproots and evaluating their general health. Only healthy plants will contribute significantly to yield, so if the taproots are more than 50 percent diseased, reduce your initial stand count accordingly.

Check out lots more helpful information in this article from ISU.

All photos are the property of Syngenta unless otherwise noted.

Reporting from Hartford, WI

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