With late freezes last spring, delayed planting and ongoing rains in some areas of the country, alfalfa cut timings and yield potential are concerns for many growers. Many stands are nutritionally stressed and challenged by competitive weeds. Optimizing tonnage requires additional weed control plus a foliar nutritional boost for fast and healthy regrowth.
The University of Nebraska Extension notes that alfalfa fields provide a good opportunity after cutting for foxtail and other weedy grasses to compete with alfalfa during regrowth. Use of Roundup® in glyphosate-tolerant varieties, and Select Max® and Poast Plus® in conventional varieties were among the Extension recommendations.
“Controlling competitive grasses is crucial, but providing the alfalfa a nutritional boost at the same time helps the stand recover from cutting and produce more yield for the next cutting,” says Rob Ford, Midwest Sales Manager of Agro-K Corporation, a leading developer of crop micronutrients. “Adding zinc and manganese to the tank mix creates a foliar application that enhances the leaf-to-stem ratio that is crucial for increasing tonnage and feed value, while also stimulating root development to maintain the productivity and health of the stand.
“Tank mixing nutrients with herbicides for conventional alfalfa is usually not a major problem, but until now there has been a serious drawback tank mixing micronutrients with glyphosate. University research has shown that conventional micronutrients applied simultaneously with glyphosate have limited benefit,” Ford says. “This is because the glyphosate molecule is a strong chelator and common metal-based micronutrients are readily tied up in tank mixes, which reduces glyphosate’s weed control along with nutrient availability.
“The unique, phosphite-based Sysstem-Ready™ formulation was developed to be compatible with glyphosate and other herbicides. Sysstem-Ready gives alfalfa highly systemic, phloem-mobile foliar zinc and manganese that penetrates plant tissue immediately and translocates when and where it is needed most. It also encourages increased moisture and nutrient uptake so important during a season of multiple weather challenges. Sysstem-Ready is an excellent fit for conventional alfalfa as well because of its compatibility with other herbicides and crop inputs.”
Western Nebraska on-farm trials with conventional alfalfa showed that the total weight of three cuttings with Sysstem-Ready was 12,040 pounds of yield compared with 9,940 pounds under grower standard practice, says Ford.
“The plants had more leaves on lower stems and better leaf-to-stem ratio, larger root mass and increased numbers of fine feeding root hairs,” he says.
Ford recommends applying 1 to 2 quarts per acre at 7 to 10 days after each cutting when sufficient leaf surface is available. Applications can be made via center pivot with no more than ¼ inch of water and pivot at fast speed.
Zinc is the cornerstone for leaf, root and vascular system development while manganese is a key player in photosynthesis, nitrogen assimilation, disease and stress resistance, and other essential bio-chemical reactions within the plant.
“Sysstem-Ready™ is a real problem-solver for growers who want to maximize production of glyphosate-tolerant alfalfa,” says Ford. “A one-pass nutrient plus glyphosate application also helps growers avoid delays due to adverse weather, unnecessary costs for energy, wear and tear on equipment, and soil compaction.”
Sysstem-Ready and Sysstem Series are trademarks of Agro-K Corporation. Roundup is a registered trademark of Monsanto Company. Poast is a registered trademark of BASF. Select Max is a registered trademark of Valent USA Corporation.
Contact: Ron Butler (816-407-9194) firstname.lastname@example.org
Sysstem-Ready for Alfalfa (trial photos and yield charts available)