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Discussion Starter #1
I am asking this after the fact by the way.

My alfalfa plots are growing like weeds to say the least. I cut my vernal (hay) plots a couple of weeks ago to get them to thicken up and they just kept growing up, not out like I was hoping. Might be time to put them under for good.

On two of my grazing alfalfa plots, one mixed with clover, the stuff has gone mad! Including the clover, with all the liming and fertilizing I have done they have pretty much choked out most of the weeds now and easily were over 2' tall. (the white dutch clover as well) The deer have been bedding in them in the evening, but the stems were already starting to look woody and I want to keep the growth young and fresh. PH is in the high 7's now and the 6-24-24 did its job!

Not having access to any good haying equipment, I took the liberty of using a brush mower on my neighbors tractor this weekend to cut them back to about 1' in height. Had I not, I don't think I could of controlled them later this summer with any equipment I have available to me. I had to leave the mower on the high (up) position off the three point just to get through the stuff and cut it in half basically.

I am thinking now I might be opening myself for weed growth and am wondering if I made a mistake in mowing it now???

Late last summer a lot of grass took over and I am hoping I can control it. Reading some previous posts on here now, people are saying wait for it to flower.

Any bad news for me out there?
 

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Koz, Only time will tell which way is right. If the weather stays dry you may have been better off to not mow. If we start getting rains then the mowing may make you look like a hero. Alfalfa protein levels drop substantially when the plant starts to flower. A lot of growers therefore will cut alfalfa when it has aprox. 1/3 in flower. My plots will get 2' tall before the 4 legged mowers work it over. NorthJeff talks about balance alot in deer management. If your plots stay 2' tall all summer and into the fall then your balance leans toward excess food during that time.
 

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I cut my alfalfa / clover fields last week also. I expect good rain in the next few days so I believe we both timed it right. Seems like we are in a drought actually but the fields were getting too tall. Legumes are like that in spring. I think we made the right choice - but only time will tell like Anderson says. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I checked on it today and it is pretty dry where the mower damaged it from cutting, but otherwise looks good - no major smothering at least.

I will pray for rain and hopefully I will see a bounce back after the weekend. Looks like a chance for showers everyday, but if it does not rain, I might end up with a grass field by summer and will need to break out some more Arrest.
 

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Anderson is certainly right about maturity and nutrient content in alfalfa (and most other plants).

Allowing the alfalfa plants to get some blossoms for a while later in summer will improve winter survival. I have not worked with grazing alfalfa. With conventional stuff, we cut it back short and allow it to put up new growth from the crown between cuttings.

We are very dry here in Western PA also...rain showers look to be in your fine state this morning. ?? hope so
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I did a little rain dance before I went to sleep last night and at 3 AM I was awaken to nearly 3/4" of rain.

More in the forecast for tomorrow and Sunday!!!:eek:ne_eye:

Took a drive to check out the plots today and ran into 4 mature toms on the way. My father-in-law still has a permit so I had to back out. They were in my first alfalfa plot. My guess is that I am going to be alright.

We'll see about the weed growth in the next few weeks.
 

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Most likely, the alfalfa that you have is a conventional sativa type. It will crown out and get more stems, but not spread. Compared to falcata type alfalfas and true perennial clovers. The falcata will spread with rhizomes, while most perennial clovers spread by stolons above the ground. This is the reason that many true perennials look much better in the second or third year than in the first. They will fill in and start to spread. Past experience tells me that your alfalfa will recover and you will be fine. In fact there are more energy reserves in the roots of the alfalafa than your annual broadleaf weeds, and in most cases, the alfalfa will handle the minor drought better after the cutting, not to mention that the regrowth will be much quicker.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The rain came. And then it came again. I think I did smother a little bit of it, but I check today and it appears to be doing fine.

I do not know the exact type in these two plots, but I do know it is the grazing, not vernal type. The vernal stuff I have is not good. It just gets tall and not wide, and does not spread. This stuff does spread.

It looks like I will need to do some additional weed management this year, and plan on spraying it in a few weeks to knock down some of the grass and broadleafs I can see coming up.

I did plant another plot this year of HL326GZ as suggested by Ed Spin and is has covered the ground in a lush, (weed free) mat. I am anxious to see how this compares to the standard grazing type I purchased 3 years ago. I do agree with you, after three years they have to have some good strong root systems, and I do know from experience that they really take off right around September each year for a couple of weeks, before the frost comes.
 

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Checked mine this weekend - all look outstanding. Sprayed Poast Plus to kill the grass in a couple fields but one field was so healthy it crowded out the grass! I say the timing of the cut was excellent.
 
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