Forage Stand Establishment Trouble Shooting

 
 
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 Thin stand throughout the whole field | Spotty stands and thin stands | Patterned poor establishment | Weak plants or high seedling mortality | Poor legume coloring | Heavy competition | Weedy stand

Thin Stand Throughout the Whole Field

Seed size and seed quality
Look for

  • low plant population (thin stands);
  • large numbers of seeds which have not germinated are found when digging in the seedbed;
  • seeds which have germinated but have not developed to a seedling;
  • seedlings which have emerged but have not been able to develop beyond the cotyledon stage.
Cause
  • poor seed and seedling vigor; unable to develop to the stage of growth where a viable plant will survive.
Solutions
  • if the stand is relatively weed free and no companion crop was planted it is possible to reseed directly into the stand with a disk drill placing the seed 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch (1 to 2 cm.) deep using high quality seed;
  • if this is not possible, work the field shallowly (2 to 3 inches deep) and reseed with a high quality seed to produce a high quality stand.
Prevention
Use high quality Certified No. 1 or Common No. 1 seed when-ever possible. Ask for and get a copy of the Certificate of Analysis for every lot of forage seed purchased.

Protection
Protect yourself as a forage seed buyer by;

  • buy only Certified No.1 seed if at all possible;
  • ask to see a copy of the Certificate of Analysis for every lot of seed you will get before you purchase the seed, and get a copy of the Certificate of Analysis for each seed lot purchased;
  • when seeding a mixture, purchase each variety and species of seed separately and mix the seed yourself;
  • take a small sample (approximately 2 to 4 cups) from each lot of seed used and keep this sample along with a tag from the seed lot and the Certificate of Analysis for the seed lot and store them in a safe cool dry place;
  • record the date of seeding, soil and weather conditions, seeding method and any other pertinent information and keep it with the seed.
Seeding rates
Look for
  • not planting enough seed at time of seeding, indicated by a lot of seed left over (seeding rates which are less than eighty percent of targeted seeding rates);
  • after emergence, a thin stand of emerging plants (less than 25 to 30 plants per square foot in the Black and Grey-wooded Soil Zones and 15 to 20 plants in the Brown Soil Zones).
Cause
  • improperly calibrated seeding equipment;
  • if blended with a carrier (ie a cereal seed or a commercial fertilizer) either an improper blending ratio or insufficient mixing of the forage seed and the carrier occurred.
Solutions
  • if the problem is discovered at the time of seeding, reseed the field to bring seeding rates up to the recommended rates for the area or the rates which were being targeted;
  • if discovered after emergence, try seeding directly into the existing stand at 1/3 to 1/2 the recommended rates for the area the following spring or work the field shallowly and reseed.
Prevention
  • seed at the recommended seeding rate.
  • check the calibration and setting of the seeding equipment prior to seeding and re-calibrate or re-set as necessary;
  • ensure that blends are done in the proper ratio and that the blending is done thoroughly to attain a proper job of mixing.
Spotty Stands and Thin Stands

Seeding rates
Look for
  • not planting enough seed at time of seeding, indicated by a lot of seed left over (seeding rates which are less than eighty percent of targeted seeding rates);
  • after emergence, a thin stand of emerging plants (less than 25 to 30 plants per square foot in the Black and Grey-wooded Soil Zones and 15 to 20 plants in the Brown Soil Zones).
Cause
  • improperly calibrated seeding equipment;
  • if blended with a carrier (i.e. a cereal seed or a commercial fertilizer) either an improper blending ratio or insufficient mixing of the forage seed and the carrier occurred.
Solutions
  • if the problem is discovered at the time of seeding, reseed the field to bring seeding rates up to the recommended rates for the area or the rates which were being targeted;
  • if discovered after emergence, try seeding directly into the existing stand at 1/3 to 1/2 the recommended rates for the area the following spring or work the field shallowly and reseed.
Prevention
  • seed at the recommended seeding rate
  • check the calibration and setting of the seeding equipment prior to seeding and re-calibrate or re-set as necessary;
  • ensure that blends are done in the proper ratio and that the blending is done thoroughly to attain a proper job of mixing.
Depth of seeding
Look for
  • poor seedling emergence over most of the field
  • seed is lying on the soil surface and there is not proper seed to soil contact;
  • germinated seeds deep in the seedbed which have started to put up a plant stem but have not had enough reserves to reach the soil surface.
Cause
  • the seed has been placed too shallow in the seedbed, as a result it has not been properly covered to give good soil to seed contact. The seed has either germinated and died before it could develop into a viable seedling or it has not had sufficient soil contact to germinate;
  • the seed has been placed too deep in the seedbed, as a result when it germinated it did not have sufficient energy reserves to reach the soil surface and establish a viable seedling.
Solutions
  • prepare a proper seedbed as discussed in Seedbed Preparation and Seeding Methods;
  • in a properly prepared seedbed ensure that the seed is placed at a depth of 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch (2 to 3 cm.) and the seedbed is firmly packed after seeding. This will ensure good soil to seed contact;
  • seed into a well drained soil with adequate moisture holding capability and good to excellent soil moisture in the top six inches (15 to 20 cm.).
Seedbed preparation and seeding methods
Look for
  • poor seedling emergence on most of the field;
  • patterned emergence such as:
    • good emergence on headlands if the seeding pattern was back and forth,
    • good emergence in the corners if the seeding pattern was round and round,
    • good emergence in the tire tracks relative to the seeding pattern and width of seeding equipment.
    • seed is lying on the soil surface and it is not properly incorporated into the soil for germination to take place.
Cause
  • soil has been worked too deep and it is left too loose for a good seedbed thus the seed has been placed too deep in the soil to germinate, emerge from the soil, and develop into a thick even stand. The patterns are present because of additional packing in the headlands, corners and tire tracks or because of heavier seeding rates on the headlands and in the corners as a result of double seeding and additional packing.
  • the seedbed is too hard and dry, the majority of the seed is placed on, or right at the soil surface preventing germination or germination takes place, and the seed does not develop into a seedling because it cannot survive in the adverse environmental conditions.
Solutions
  • If the seedbed was too loose and there has been poor emergence, firm the seedbed by harrowing or packing with a harrow packer or a roller and reseed the field;
  • If the seedbed was too hard and most of the seed was placed on the surface or in the dry soil right at the surface work the field shallow (1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches) and reseed into a firm, shallow, and moist seedbed.
Prevention
  • Prepare a firm moist seedbed by working the field shallowly to a depth of about 3 inches ( 8 cm.), then packing it by harrowing or harrow packing depending on the soil type to get a seedbed where the imprint of your foot print is approximately 1/4 inch deep in the soil. If you are wearing a boot or shoe with a heel, the sole and heel of the shoe should make contact with the soil and instep won't.
  • If seeding with an implement which broadcasts the seed, work the soil to a depth of 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 in. (4 to 6 cm.), broadcast the seed, work the field shallowly, and pack the field to get good soil to seed contact.

Seeding methods
  • Band or row seeding is done with a conventional grain drill, air drill/air seeder,or a "Brillion" type seeder. This method of seeding has been the most successful over a broad range of soil and climatic conditions. The best results are obtained when the seed is placed in a row at a depth of 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch (1 to 2 cm.)and packed with a press wheel to get a good soil to seed contact.
  • Broadcast seeding is done with a spin broadcast spreader, a dribble spreader, or a pneumatic spreader. With all three types of broadcast seeding equipment it is a common practise to mix the seed with a carrier to help get an evener application of the seed . After the seed has been broadcast on the surface it must be incorporated into the soil by a shallow tillage operation (1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches), followed by harrowing, or packing. It has become a common practice in the moist areas of the Black and Grey-wooded Soil Zones to broadcast forage seed with fertilizer as a carrier, do a shallow cultivation and roll the field with a large roller to pack the soil. This gives good soil to seed contact and can establish a good forage stand.
Companion crops
Look for
  • if a spotty stand, check for heavy companion crop residue such as signs of lodging, excessive stubble resulting in weak spindly plants, dead seedlings, or no forage crop establishment,
  • dead seedlings or no growth in a pattern such as swath rows;
  • no growth the year after seeding in a pattern under a heavy covering of chaff and/or straw.
Cause
  • seeding of a companion crops at rates which have held back the establishment of the forage crop;
  • the use of high rates of nitrogen fertilizer to obtain maximum yields of the companion crop;
  • the companion crop has lain to long in the swath before harvest has been completed, smothering the small forage plants under the swath;
  • when the companion crop has been harvested as grain the straw and chaff have not been adequately spread or removed soon enough;
Prevention
  • establish a new forage crop without using a companion crop;
  • if a companion crop is being used seed at 1/2 to 2/3 of the seeding rate that would be used if you were seeding a normal crop;
  • reduce the amount of nitrogen fertilizer to reduce the competition from the companion crop, if the major ingredient of the forage crop is a legume do not use more than 25 to 35 pounds of nitrogen per acre;
  • use less competitive crops such as canola and wheat;
  • harvest the companion crop as silage or greenfeed;
  • if harvesting the companion crop as a cash crop remove the straw as soon as possible and spread or remove the chaff.
Patterned Poor Establishment

Depth of seeding
Look for
  • poor seedling emergence over most of the field
  • seed is lying on the soil surface and there is not proper seed to soil contact;
  • germinated seeds deep in the seedbed which have started to put up a plant stem but have not had enough reserves to reach the soil surface.
Cause
  • the seed has been placed too shallow in the seedbed, as a result it has not been properly covered to give good soil to seed contact. The seed has either germinated and died before it could develop into a viable seedling or it has not had sufficient soil contact to germinate;
  • the seed has been placed too deep in the seedbed, as a result when it germinated it did not have sufficient energy reserves to reach the soil surface and establish a viable seedling.
Solutions
  • prepare a proper seedbed as discussed in Seedbed Preparation and Seeding Methods;
  • in a properly prepared seedbed ensure that the seed is placed at a depth of 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch (2 to 3 cm.) and the seedbed is firmly packed after seeding. This will ensure good soil to seed contact;
  • seed into a well drained soil with adequate moisture holding capability and good to excellent soil moisture in the top six inches (15 to 20 cm.).
Seedbed preparation and seeding methods
Look for
  • poor seedling emergence on most of the field;
  • patterned emergence such as:
    • good emergence on headlands if the seeding pattern was back and forth,
    • good emergence in the corners if the seeding pattern was round and round,
    • good emergence in the tire tracks relative to the seeding pattern and width of seeding equipment.
  • seed is lying on the soil surface and it is not properly incorporated into the soil for germination to take place.
Cause
  • soil has been worked too deep and it is left too loose for a good seedbed thus the seed has been placed too deep in the soil to germinate, emerge from the soil, and develop into a thick even stand. The patterns are present because of additional packing in the headlands, corners and tire tracks or because of heavier seeding rates on the headlands and in the corners as a result of double seeding an additional packing.
  • the seedbed is too hard and dry, the majority of the seed is placed on, or right at the soil surface preventing germination or germination takes place, and the seed does not develop into a seedling because it cannot survive in the adverse environmental conditions.
Solutions
  • If the seedbed was too loose and there has been poor emergence, firm the seedbed by harrowing or packing with a harrow packer or a roller and reseed the field;
  • If the seedbed was too hard and most of the seed was placed on the surface or in the dry soil right at the surface work the field shallow (1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches) and reseed into a firm, shallow, and moist seedbed.
Prevention
  • Prepare a firm moist seedbed by working the field shallowly to a depth of about 3 inches ( 8 cm.), then packing it by harrowing or harrow packing depending on the soil type to get a seedbed where the imprint of your foot print is approximately 1/4 inch deep in the soil. If you are wearing a boot or shoe with a heel, the sole and heel of the shoe should make contact with the soil and instep won't.
  • If seeding with an implement which broadcasts the seed, work the soil to a depth of 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 in. (4 to 6 cm.), broadcast the seed, work the field shallowly, and pack the field to get good soil to seed contact.


Seeding methods
  • Band or row seeding is done with a conventional grain drill, air drill/air seeder,or a "Brillion" type seeder. This method of seeding has been the most successful over a broad range of soil and climatic conditions. The best results are obtained when the seed is placed in a row at a depth of 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch (1 to 2 cm.)and packed with a press wheel to get a good soil to seed contact.
  • Broadcast seeding is done with a spin broadcast spreader, a dribble spreader, or a pneumatic spreader. With all three types of broadcast seeding equipment it is a common practise to mix the seed with a carrier to help get an evener application of the seed . After the seed has been broadcast on the surface it must be incorporated into the soil by a shallow tillage operation (1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches), followed by harrowing, or packing. It has become a common practice in the moist areas of the Black and Grey-wooded Soil Zones to broadcast forage seed with fertilizer as a carrier, do a shallow cultivation and roll the field with a large roller to pack the soil. This gives good soil to seed contact and can establish a good forage stand.
Companion crops
Look for
  • if a spotty stand, check for heavy companion crop residue such as signs of lodging, excessive stubble resulting in weak spindly plants, dead seedlings, or no forage crop establishment,
  • dead seedlings or no growth in a pattern such as swath rows;
  • no growth the year after seeding in a pattern under a heavy covering of chaff and/or straw.
Cause
  • seeding of a companion crops at rates which have held back the establishment of the forage crop;
  • the use of high rates of nitrogen fertilizer to obtain maximum yields of the companion crop;
  • the companion crop has lain to long in the swath before harvest has been completed, smothering the small forage plants under the swath;
  • when the companion crop has been harvested as grain the straw and chaff has not been adequately spread or removed soon enough;
Prevention
  • establish a new forage crop without using a companion crop;
  • if a companion crop is being used seed at 1/2 to 2/3 of the seeding rate that would be used if you were seeding a normal crop;
  • reduce the amount of nitrogen fertilizer to reduce the competition from the companion crop, if the major ingredient of the forage crop is a legume do not use more than 25 to 35 pounds of nitrogen per acre;
  • use less competitive crops such as canola and wheat;
  • harvest the companion crop as silage or greenfeed;
  • if harvesting the companion crop as a cash crop remove the straw as soon as possible and spread or remove the chaff.
Weak Plants or High Seedling Mortality

Seed size and seed quality
Look for
  • low plant population (thin stands);
  • large numbers of seeds which have not germinated are found when digging in the seedbed;
  • seeds which have germinated but have not developed to a seedling;
  • seedlings which have emerged but have not been able to develop beyond the cotyledon stage.
Cause
  • poor seed and seedling vigor; unable to develop to the stage of growth where a viable plant will survive.
Solutions
  • if the stand is relatively weed free and no companion crop was planted it is possible to reseed directly into the stand with a disk drill placing the seed 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch (1 to 2 cm.) deep using high quality seed;
  • if this is not possible, work the field shallowly (2 to 3 inches deep) and reseed with a high quality seed to produce a high quality stand.
Prevention
Use high quality Certified No. 1 or Common No. 1 seed when-ever possible. Ask for and get a copy of the Certificate of Analysis for every lot of forage seed purchased.

Protection
Protect yourself as a forage seed buyer by;

  • buy only Certified No.1 seed if at all possible;
  • ask to see a copy of the Certificate of Analysis for every lot of seed you will get before you purchase the seed, and get a copy of the Certificate of Analysis for each seed lot purchased;
  • when seeding a mixture, purchase each variety and species of seed separately and mix the seed yourself;
  • take a small sample (approximately 2 to 4 cups) from each lot of seed used and keep this sample along with a tag from the seed lot and the Certificate of Analysis for the seed lot and store them in a safe cool dry place;
  • record the date of seeding, soil and weather conditions, seeding method and any other pertinent information and keep it with the seed.
Time of seeding
Look for
  • seeds lying dormant in the soil; some may have rotted and will not germinate;
  • seeds have germinated, small roots have developed, stems and cotyledon leaves are there but are not properly formed;
  • the field has been seeded late in the season (late summer or early fall) and a strong seedling has not had a chance to establish enabling the seedling to survive the fall frosts, and winter cold.
Solutions
  • for spring seeding, reseed when the soil has warmed up and dried sufficiently to permit quick germination and development of healthy strong seedlings to take place;
  • for fall seeding, seed late in the fall (after mid October) to prevent fall germination of the seed.
Prevention
  • seed as early in the spring as possible (by the first to second week of June) to take advantage the of spring soil moisture to establish the seedlings and the young plants before the hot dry summer weather sets in;
  • ideally, the soil temperature should be 2 to 5 degrees Celsius (35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit) at the time of spring seeding;
  • when fall seeding, seed after the middle of October once the soil temperature has dropped below two (2) degrees Celsius (thirty five degrees Fahrenheit).
Note: Fall seeding should be done only when conditions or the situation prevents spring seeding or makes spring seeding the poorer alternative. Also, when fall seeding the seeding rates should be increased by 20 to 30 percent.

Depth of seeding
Look for
  • poor seedling emergence over most of the field
  • seed is lying on the soil surface and there is not proper seed to soil contact;
  • germinated seeds deep in the seedbed which have started to put up a plant stem but have not had enough reserves to reach the soil surface.
Cause
  • the seed has been placed too shallow in the seedbed, as a result it has not been properly covered to give good soil to seed contact. The seed has either germinated and died before it could develop into a viable seedling or it has not had sufficient soil contact to germinate;
  • the seed has been placed too deep in the seedbed, as a result when it germinated it did not have sufficient energy reserves to reach the soil surface and establish a viable seedling.
Solutions
  • prepare a proper seedbed as discussed in Seedbed Preparation and Seeding Methods;
  • in a properly prepared seedbed ensure that the seed is placed at a depth of 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch (2 to 3 cm.) and the seedbed is firmly packed after seeding. This will ensure good soil to seed contact;
  • seed into a well drained soil with adequate moisture holding capability and good to excellent soil moisture in the top six inches (15 to 20 cm.).
Companion crops
Look for
  • if a spotty stand, check for heavy companion crop residue such as signs of lodging, excessive stubble resulting in weak spindly plants, dead seedlings, or no forage crop establishment,
  • dead seedlings or no growth in a pattern such as swath rows;
  • no growth the year after seeding in a pattern under a heavy covering of chaff and/or straw.
Cause
  • seeding of a companion crops at rates which have held back the establishment of the forage crop;
  • the use of high rates of nitrogen fertilizer to obtain maximum yields of the companion crop;
  • the companion crop has lain to long in the swath before harvest has been completed, smothering the small forage plants under the swath;
  • when the companion crop has been harvested as grain the straw and chaff have not been adequately spread or removed soon enough;
Prevention
  • establish a new forage crop without using a companion crop;
  • if a companion crop is being used seed at 1/2 to 2/3 of the seeding rate that would be used if you were seeding a normal crop;
  • reduce the amount of nitrogen fertilizer to reduce the competition from the companion crop, if the major ingredient of the forage crop is a legume do not use more than 25 to 35 pounds of nitrogen per acre;
  • use less competitive crops such as canola and wheat;
  • harvest the companion crop as silage or greenfeed;
  • if harvesting the companion crop as a cash crop remove the straw as soon as possible and spread or remove the chaff.
Poor Legume Coloring

Inoculation of legumes
Look for
  • stunted plants, a sickly pale green color exhibiting a yellowing in older plant growth, the symptoms of a nitrogen deficiency;
  • no sign of nodulation on the roots of plants when carefully dug out of the ground. CAUTION: the plants must be dug out with a large ball of undisturbed soil and the soil carefully washed from the roots to ensure that the nodules formed by the rhizobium remain on the roots. If no nodules are present there is no nitrification taking place.

Poor nodulation - few white nodules

Good nodulation


Uninoculated alfalfa plants - centre
Inoculated - left and right

Cause
  • in a legume stand the year of seeding or the next year the inoculant used was not good;
  • the inoculant may have been improperly applied or the seed was left sit to long from the time the inoculant was applied until it was planted;
  • in a stand such as above with minimal nodulation possibly the inoculant could not survive the soil conditions;
  • in older stands numerous environmental conditions including over fertilization with nitrogen fertilizer, plant diseases, freezing and thawing, and flooding can reduce the number of live and active rhizobium and nodules on the plants.
Solutions
  • in the short term, add supplemental nitrogen fertilizer to the field to maintain crop production;
  • in the long term, replace the stand with a new one, ensuring that the seed used is properly inoculated with a live vigorous inoculant of the proper strain.
Prevention
  • legumes are sensitive to soil conditions and the soil pH, they must be planted in soils in which the legume and the rhizobium (inoculant) can grow and survive. Alfalfa, sweet clover, sainfoin, cicer milkvetch perform best on soils with a soil pH in the range of 5.8 to 7.2. The clovers and birdsfoot trefoil can tolerate soils with a soil pH ranging from 5.0 to 7.0 and higher;
  • using pre-inoculated seed, make sure the seed has been inoculated in the year of planting;
  • applying inoculant on the farm ensure the following:
  • the inoculant being applied is the correct one for the legume being planted,
  • the inoculant is fresh, check the expiry date on the packages,
  • the seed supplier has stored the inoculant in a cool dry place,
  • store it in a cool dry place from the time of purchase until it is applied,
  • apply inoculant only to the seed that will be planted in the day of application, if the seed is not planted reinoculate,
  • use a sticker and slurry when applying inoculant to the seed and mix well,
  • double inoculation will not harm the seeds or new legume plants and it is cheap insurance,
  • use low to moderate rates of nitrogen fertilizer if planting with a companion crop (see Companion Crops).
Heavy Competition

Companion crops
Look for
  • if a spotty stand, check for heavy companion crop residue such as signs of lodging, excessive stubble resulting in weak spindly plants, dead seedlings, or no forage crop establishment,
  • dead seedlings or no growth in a pattern such as swath rows;
  • no growth the year after seeding in a pattern under a heavy covering of chaff and/or straw.
Cause
  • seeding of a companion crops at rates which have held back the establishment of the forage crop;
  • the use of high rates of nitrogen fertilizer to obtain maximum yields of the companion crop;
  • the companion crop has lain to long in the swath before harvest has been completed, smothering the small forage plants under the swath;
  • when the companion crop has been harvested as grain the straw and chaff have not been adequately spread or removed soon enough;
Prevention
  • establish a new forage crop without using a companion crop;
  • if a companion crop is being used seed at 1/2 to 2/3 of the seeding rate that would be used if you were seeding a normal crop;
  • reduce the amount of nitrogen fertilizer to reduce the competition from the companion crop, if the major ingredient of the forage crop is a legume do not use more than 25 to 35 pounds of nitrogen per acre;
  • use less competitive crops such as canola and wheat;
  • harvest the companion crop as silage or greenfeed;
  • if harvesting the companion crop as a cash crop remove the straw as soon as possible and spread or remove the chaff.
Weeds
Look for
  • year of planting, competition from undesirable plant species, particularly in stands which have been direct seeded or seeded without a companion crop;
  • in year after establishment, weed infestations in spots throughout the field, generally when a companion crop has been used.
Cause
  • field in question heavily infested with weeds prior to seeding;
  • poor weed control when seedbed was prepared;
  • weeds showing up in the spring after planting in stands which were seeded with a companion crop are generally winter annuals that are normally not a problem because they have been controlled with spring cultivation
Solutions
  • in seeding year harvest the companion crop early, cutting the weeds before they set seed. This also opens the canopy over the young forage crop letting it grow with a minimum amount of competition;
  • cut heavy infestations of weeds in direct seeded crops at 5 to 6 inches (12 to 15 cm) to open the canopy over the forage seedling and prevent the weeds from setting seed;
  • weed problems in the year after seeding can generally be brought under control by harvesting the first cutting of the forage crop early. A good rule of thumb is to harvest it just as the alfalfa enters the bud stage or the grasses start to head out.
Prevention
  • chose fields which have a history of not having a serious weed problem;
  • ensure good weed control is part of the seedbed preparation program. This may include practices such as delayed seeding, additional tillage operations, and chemical weed control.
Weedy Stand

Weeds
Look for
  • year of planting, competition from undesirable plant species, particularly in stands which have been direct seeded or seeded without a companion crop;
  • in year after establishment, weed infestations in spots throughout the field, generally when a companion crop has been used.
Cause
  • field in question heavily infested with weeds prior to seeding;
  • poor weed control when seedbed was prepared;
  • weeds showing up in the spring after planting in stands which were seeded with a companion crop are generally winter annuals that are normally not a problem because they have been controlled with spring cultivation
Solutions
  • in seeding year harvest the companion crop early, cutting the weeds before they set seed. This also opens the canopy over the young forage crop letting it grow with a minimum amount of competition;
  • cut heavy infestations of weeds in direct seeded crops at 5 to 6 inches (12 to 15 cm) to open the canopy over the forage seedling and prevent the weeds from setting seed;
  • weed problems in the year after seeding can generally be brought under control by harvesting the first cutting of the forage crop early. A good rule of thumb is to harvest it just as the alfalfa enters the bud stage or the grasses start to head out.
Prevention
  • chose fields which have a history of not having a serious weed problem;
  • ensure good weed control is part of the seedbed preparation program. This may include practices such as delayed seeding, additional tillage operations, and chemical weed control.
 
 
 
 
For more information about the content of this document, contact Linda Hunt.
This document is maintained by Marie Glover.
This information published to the web on August 9, 2004.
Last Reviewed/Revised on December 14, 2015.