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A Focus on Alfalfa: The “Queen of Forages”


Spring of 2020 offered a good opportunity to start new where conditions have been the worst, especially for the alfalfa crop. Even those with the toughest season in 2019 experienced great field conditions this spring, and alfalfa planting moved along in a timely fashion. A cold Mother’s Day weekend threatened all crops, but most alfalfa remained resilient and first cuttings have been doing well.

This progress is a much needed reprieve for alfalfa producers in the Midwest. Excess moisture and harsh winter conditions going back to the fall of 2018 have compromised some stands while reducing the longevity of others. Most producers had to cope with these conditions at least once, maybe twice, in the past couple of seasons. It’s difficult to focus only on the factors which we can control when those which are out of our control become so relentless.

At Dairyland Seed, we know that resiliency is the best way to combat Mother Nature. In my first year and a half as a regional agronomist, I saw how these alfalfa challenges brought out the best in people. Dealers and District Sales Managers demonstrated exemplary teamwork, working beyond overtime to shuffle extra product.

I observed patience in challenging discussions and creativity in finding solutions together. Most impressively, I also saw customers turn to their trusted friends at Dairyland Seed when they needed a hand! Top-notch service is engrained in the identity of Dairyland Seed; it’s who we are and it’s why all of us are here. We understand that simple things often lead to the best solutions, things such as listening to ideas, doing the right thing and owning any mistakes.

We also know that good products can also combat Mother Nature when she is at her worst. Of course, there aren’t any completely weatherproof seed products out there, but our team of alfalfa breeders and agronomists deliver the closest thing to it. The HybriForce products are the highest yielding alfalfa varieties in the marketplace, providing more forage in times of need at a quality level that keeps livestock happy. The WET lineup brings industry leading disease tolerance and resistance to heaving through its branched root structure.

Dairyland Seed has focused on delivering premium alfalfa products for 65 years because it’s what cows desire. Today’s cattle rations are as fine-tuned as ever, but forages are still the foundation. While we typically use multiple forages in any given ration, nothing quite matches the niche of alfalfa on the farm. It offers excellent digestibility with consistency (and yield!) that is difficult to match with other legume forages.

Alfalfa allows for high dry matter intake at the bunk and few things can match its all-around nutrient density. The high protein content comes from an efficient nitrogen fixing system that also benefits crop rotations. Corn crops planted following the termination of alfalfa need little to no nitrogen fertilizer with proper management practices, and our soils enjoy improved soil structure and reduced erosion from the dense, deep roots.

It has been a tough period of time for alfalfa production, but resiliency and performance prevail. After 65 years of experience with alfalfa, we know that it’s the “Queen of Forages” and we expect nothing different for years to come.

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