CAN LESS BE MORE – HOW MUCH ALFALFA SHOULD I BE SEEDING AT ESTABLISHMENT?

2018

  • Kevin Jarek
  • Mark Renz
  • UW-Extension, Outagamie County
  • Dept. of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Project Media

The alfalfa seed industry has introduced coated seeds over the last decade to improve
establishment of alfalfa seedlings. These coatings can be light or heavy but are still sold in
50 pound bags. As a result, farmers are getting less Pure Live Seed (PLS) in a bag; while
these coatings may enhance each individual seed’s ability to establish successfully, it does
reduce the total number of seeds in a bag when purchased by weight. Rhizobium bacteria,
fungicide, colorant and polymers that bind the material are the most common constituents of
“coated” seeds. Due to these changes, farmers have been asking UW-Extension educators
“What seeding rate should we be using to maximize our plant establishment?”