Customized Alfalfa Nutrient Toolbox

Mar 09, 2021

We are all getting smarter every day, correct? 

Smart people and farmers (most of the former are both!) like to customize just about everything.  No two growers have the same service truck or even toolbox organized the same way.   Corn nutrient management has started to go in this direction of customized fertility planning field-by-field and zone-by-zone.  Alfalfa nutrient management is also getting more intricate. 

First off, there is nothing wrong with putting 100 lbs of MAP (11-52-0) and 50 lbs of potash (0-0-60) per acre as a maintenance program for your alfalfa.  You cannot go wrong with adding the standard P and K to your soil. However, alfalfa varieties and demands we ask of them are evolving at a rapid rate.  How we manage them is also changing.  Take a look at this chart below and see what jumps out at you.  Are there areas for improvement in your toolbox?

Keep using the tools in your customized toolbox.  Grid sampling, tissue sampling and feed quality sampling are very important, but balance these with your cash flow.  Fertilizer prices are tied to corn prices…not alfalfa prices.  By understanding when there are opportunities in the markets, your customized alfalfa nutrient management toolbox will really take shape.

Joe Gustafson
Location Manager
Britton, SD

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