Agronomy News – Alfalfa Winter Kill Causes and Solutions
This spring we are seeing a concerning amount of winter killed alfalfa. Stands that looked and yielded great last year just did not hold up to our harsh winter. There were three factors that contributed that led to less than stellar looking spring hay fields:
- The wettest fall ever recorded.
- Alfalfa does not like its “feet” wet and these small plants were exposed to constant wet weather conditions
- Harsh winter conditions.
- Lack of early snow cover, freezing rain alternating with heavy snow and long spells of bitter cold battered the plants.
- Disease pressure that thrives in wet conditions.
- Anthracnose, Aphanomyces root rot and Phytophthora root rot, a fungal disease that causes loss of stand on heavy or poorly drained soils. So, as we approach the alfalfa stand review this spring, we look at the dead area as well with what is still remaining will also have the same disease on the live plants as well. These diseases are also present in other fields that have alfalfa history in them.
How to manage your risk:
The best management practice is to choose alfalfa hybrids that have highly resistance to these diseases. Rebound 6xt and Hvx Megatron are the only varieties that are resistance to the 3 different races of aphanomyces. Landmark Services Cooperative carries Croplan alfalfa because it is the only company that has hybrids that surpass the industry for alfalfa disease tolerance. To learn more about how to manage your alfalfa contact your Landmark agronomist today.