Nitrogen fertilization is a critical component of maximizing yield for grass hay production. However, the steady increase in fertilizer price along with concerns for off-site N movement make prudent use of N important. On-farm studies in northeastern California were conducted in irrigated orchardgrass to examine the influence N fertilizer rates and application times have on forage yield, forage quality, soil nitrate, and economics for retail hay. N rates up to 400 lb/acre increased annual yield and net return in a three-cut system. N fertilizer also increased crude protein.
Applying fertilizer in split applications gave higher yield, crude protein, and economic return for second and third cut compared to a single fertilizer application at grass green-up. Apparent N recovery decreased with increasing fertilizer rate and ranged from 80 to 38%. N fertilizer did not influence forage neutral detergent fiber.
At the highest N fertilizer rates, forage NO3-N at first and second-cut was above 1500 ppm. Fertilizing with N at 600 lb/acre/season elevated fall soil NO3-N at the 24 to 36-inch soil depth compared to the control at multiple sites. Split applications of N fertilizer are imperative to maximize yield, crude protein, and economic return, but excessive N fertilization can increase the likelihood of high forage nitrate and nitrate accumulation below the root zone.
Given the tremendous economic challenges these days, the theme was ‘Aiming Towards Profitability’. Approximately 575 attended.
A special full day PEST MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP was ranked as ‘fantastic’ by attendees, and videos are available on-line for those interested in honing their skills in insect, weed, rodent, and disease management.
The ‘ Aiming Towards Profitability’ MAIN SESSION featured economic trends, analysis of world prices, irrigation management, subsurface drip, P&K fertility, Analysis and definition of forage quality, and the new trait in alfalfa: low-lignin.
This program, now in its 45th season, is organized annually by the University of California Cooperative Extension, and sponsored by the industry group California Alfalfa & Forage Association. Full videos, powerpoints, and Proceedings are available on-line at alfalfa.ucdavis.edu
for a link to the CAFA registration page, click here
The Alfalfa & Small Grains Field Day was held on Wednesday, 11 May, 2016 at the Plant Sciences Research Farm, Hutchison Road, UC Davis, California. Below is a link to learn about recent research, variety adaptation, water management, N management in these important crops.
It’s important for growers who are producing for sensitive markets (those that reject GMO alfalfa) such as export or organic to produce non-GE alfalfa Hay. See PAPER on production of non-GE alfalfa – soon to be published in Crop, Forage and Turfgrass Management. Also, see PAPER on Sampling methods for low level presence.Papers:
Netafim is hosting a field day on Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI) concepts, components and management requirements. Get a review of agronomic and cultural management practices for SDI alfalfa, and learn about rodent management planning to protect your SDI investment. Meet a successful SDI alfalfa grower and learn first-hand how he's increased bottom-line profits.
River Garden Farms is located on the corner of Highway 45 and County Line Road in Knights Landing. RSVP is appreciated for the lunch count.
Call or email Vince Smith at Netafim USA (559) 240-0834 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A newly published article reviews the differences between species and varieties of cool-season grasses grown under deficit irrigation. Twenty-five perennial grass species/ cultivars were evaluated under three irrigation regimes (fullseason irrigation, early cutoff, and mid-season cutoff ) over 3 year period at the Intermountain Research and Extension Center in the Klamath Basin, Tulelake, CA.
Forage grasses included: 10 tall fescue cultivars, seven orchardgrass cultivars, four bromegrass species (Bromus spp), three wheatgrass species, and festulolium. These species differed in response to water deficits.
Which species appeared to be better under full and deficit irrigation regimes?
Search ProceedingsAll Symposia Proceedings (1971-2014) are archived with a search engine, which can be obtained on the Search Proceedings page. Put in any subject or author to obtain articles on many subjects. This is a great source of Western alfalfa information.
Field Day ArchiveThe Alfalfa & Forage Systems Workgroup periodically holds field days to discuss on-going research. We have archived some of the handouts from these field days. Please see below to view selected handouts, presentations, and information from our 2014-2015 Field Days:
Learn to produce alfalfa from General Information to Seed Production.
Consult data tables from variety trials by location to help pick an alfalfa variety.
Keep up on the latest symposium.
Find and learn about people involved with the California Alfalfa Workgroup.
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