Stem Counts Help Assess Alfalfa Stand Potential

Every spring, alfalfa producers experience winterkill to their crop – particularly in stands that are older, and less winter hardy. NDSU reports on how to tell whether a stand will be good enough to keep. The article explains that one can assess stand yield potential by measuring stem density by square foot. Over 55 stems indicates that density will not be a limiting factor, between 40-55 stems indicates that some yield reduction is likely, and under 40 stems suggests that the stem may need to be terminated. It also offers short and long-term solutions, such as planting a fast-growing annual forage, or inter-seeding with perennial grasses.

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