Reducing Your Cost of Planting Roundup Ready Alfalfa

Reducing Your Cost of Planting Roundup Ready Alfalfa

March 4, 2016

While Roundup Ready® alfalfa seed may be more expensive than other alfalfa seed, establishing a new field may not cost as much as you might think.

With Roundup Ready alfalfa seed costing about $8/lb, growers may be looking for ways to reduce establishment costs. Fortunately, the seed itself can provide much of that help.

Research has shown that most growers can reduce seeding rates by 15%-20% compared to historical seeding rates when planting Roundup Ready alfalfa.  That means if you normally plant 15 lb of seed per acre, with Roundup Ready alfalfa you probably can do as well with just 12 lb per acre.  That can lower your seed cost by more than $20 per acre.

However, in order to get good stands when using lower seeding rates of Roundup Ready alfalfa, you need to do a good job of following establishment recommendations.

That starts with preparing a proper, firm seedbed and applying fertilizer and lime as needed according to soil test recommendations.  Also, use a drill or seeder adjusted to place the right amount of seed at the right depth.  Plant on time.  And, of course, spray Roundup before weeds and alfalfa seedlings are more than about three inches tall.

If you take care of your part of this process, then the special seed coating, excellent weed control with no crop injury, and a little cooperation from Mother Nature, will give you good stands from less seed.

Bruce Anderson
Extension Forage Specialist

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