Start Date

25-2-1999 9:00 AM

Description

Alfalfa is the "queen" of forages, but many situations exist where it is desirable or necessary to grow alfalfa in a mixture with a forage grass rather in monoculture. Some of the reasons to grow grass with alfalfa are: improved yield (in terms of tons of dry matter produced), better seasonal yield distribution, better weed control, potential pest reduction, erosion prevention, bloat risk reduction, and accelerated hay-drying rates. Conversely, there are some factors that favor alfalfa monoculture. These include: lower forage quality, especially in terms of protein content; more difficult management requirements (herbicide use, fertilization, and harvest timing); and, lower yields in mixtures in practice than with alfalfa alone.

Many grasses have been used in mixtures with alfalfa. From the range of forage grasses used by producers in Kentucky, most have some potential as companions to alfalfa. Several grasses have been use successfully in mixtures with alfalfa and other forage legumes, particularly red clover.

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Feb 25th, 9:00 AM

What Grasses Work Best with Alfalfa?

Alfalfa is the "queen" of forages, but many situations exist where it is desirable or necessary to grow alfalfa in a mixture with a forage grass rather in monoculture. Some of the reasons to grow grass with alfalfa are: improved yield (in terms of tons of dry matter produced), better seasonal yield distribution, better weed control, potential pest reduction, erosion prevention, bloat risk reduction, and accelerated hay-drying rates. Conversely, there are some factors that favor alfalfa monoculture. These include: lower forage quality, especially in terms of protein content; more difficult management requirements (herbicide use, fertilization, and harvest timing); and, lower yields in mixtures in practice than with alfalfa alone.

Many grasses have been used in mixtures with alfalfa. From the range of forage grasses used by producers in Kentucky, most have some potential as companions to alfalfa. Several grasses have been use successfully in mixtures with alfalfa and other forage legumes, particularly red clover.