Josh Beam and Tony Hansen detailed a few ways to make the most out of bale settings when it comes to baling alfalfa. The pair from John Deere spoke at the Alfalfa U event in Dodge City, Kansas. Alfalfa U is sponsored by Alforex Seeds, John Deere and High Plains Journal.
For many alfalfa growers, water is the biggest limiting factor to growing a high yield, so utilizing an efficient irrigation system is key to their bottom line, explained McClain Pool.
Pool is a regional manager for Eco-Drip, covering the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma, and the southern portions of Kansas and Colorado. He spoke in a breakout session about subsurface drip irrigation’s efficiencies at the 2019 Alfalfa U, Feb. 21. The Alfalfa U series of meetings, held in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Fort Hall, Idaho; and Dodge City, Kansas, were sponsored by High Plains Journal, Alforex and John Deere.
“There are acres that don’t quite fit pivot irrigation,” Pool explained. He provided an example of a parcel of ground in the Scottsbluff, Nebraska, area that a farmer had been flood irrigating for years. The result was alkali hotspots in the field that wouldn’t grow a crop, and it was a time and management nightmare.
The queen of forages deserves royal treatment.
One of the world’s oldest crops, alfalfa has the highest feeding value of all forages, said Anowar Islam, an associate professor and forage specialist at the University of Wyoming.
Improving alfalfa management, including for stand establishment, will improve sustainability and profitability, he said.
Barry Bradford, Kansas State University dairy nutritionist, said traditionally when people think about feeding dairy cattle they think a certain way.
“We feed forage for cow health, to keep the rumen healthy and we feed concentrates for energy,” Bradford said. “If you actually do the math, that’s not really accurate.”
In typical United States dairy rations, forages supply at least a third of the energy. Bradford believes this is limiting.
The formula by which a dairy operation maximizes milk production is simple: When cows eat more alfalfa, they produce more milk. According to David Combs, professor of dairy science at the University of Wisconsin, striving for maximum dietary fiber in the forage is the secret.
Above average rainfall, large number of fires throughout the region, increased temperatures, stress leading to leaf loss and pest pressure have all contributed to alfalfa quality issues in the western United States in 2016. Emily Glunk, Montana State University, explained how these issues im…
Alfalfa production in the Northwest is pretty similar to the Midwest, except for a shorter growing season. It is a big challenge to pack as much quality alfalfa into a short season, and it starts with getting a good stand from the start. Farmers participating in a panel discussion at Alfalfa…
Alfalfa producers at the Dodge City Alfalfa U agree attention to detail at planting is the first step for managing alfalfa for quality and longevity.
Wherever alfalfa fields are irrigated or sub-irrigated, the potential for salinity exists. “Anytime water comes out of the ground it picks up salts,” said Don Miller, director of product development for Alforex Seeds. Miller presented information on salinity at all three stops of the 2017 Al…