Application Guide of Hyfer Plus Foliar Fertilizer on Alfalfa

ALFALFA LEAVES

Download Application Guide of Hyfer Plus Foliar Fertilizer on Alfalfa

Alfalfa(Medicago sativa) is a small seeded perennial flowering plant in the pea family Fabaceae cultivated as an important forage crop. Its primary use is as feed for high producing dairy animals because of its high protein content and highly digestible fiber, and secondarily for beef cattle, horses, sheep and goats. It is a leguminous plant which normally lives 4-8 years, but can live more than 20 years depending on variety and climate.The plant grows to a height of up to 1 meter(3ft.) and has a deep root system, stretching from 12-15 meters long.This makes it very resilient, especially to droughts.It has a slowly growing seedling, but after several months of establishment, forms a tough “crown” at the top of the root system, this crown contains many shoot buds that enable the plant to re-grow many times after being harvested. Just like other legumes, Alfalfa contains root nodules with nitrogen fixing bacteria (Sinorhizobium meliloti).With its ability to fix nitrogen, Alfalfa is considered as one with the highest protein content among forage crops.

Alfalfa can be sown in spring or fall, and performs best on well drained soils with neutral pH ranging from 6.8-7.5.Usually, a seeding rate of 15-20 kgs./hectare is recommended. A nurse crop is sometimes used, particularly for spring plantings, to reduce weed problems and soil erosion, but can lead to competition for light, water, and nutrients. In most areas, Alfalfa is cut 3 to 4 times a year, but can be harvested up to 12 times per year in some areas. Typical yield is around 8 tons per hectare but higher yields up to 20 tons are recorded depending on the weather condition, management and proper nutrition. Yields vary on different areas , weather, and the crop’s stage of maturity when cut. Later cuttings improve yield, but with reduced nutritional content. Alfalfa requires sustained levels of potassium and phosphorus to grow well. Soils low in fertility should be fertilize with organic fertilizer or manure, in many cases, chemical granular fertilizer application is practiced. However, chemical fertilizers may induce soil acidity that may cause phosphorus fixation causing a stunted growth to the plant. Correction of soil pH is very important as this will directly affect nutrient absorption by the root. Acidic soils render phosphorus unavailable to the plant, thus foliar fertilizer application is recommended as an immediate remedy to supplement Macro and Micronutrients.

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