Alfalfa is well adapted to deep, well-drained, loamy soils with a high moisture holding capacity. Avoid deep, sandy soils or soils with poor internal drainage.
A properly prepared seedbed is firm, moist, fine and granular, but not powdery. A fine granular soil is ideal for proper seed coverage. A powdery seedbed is apt to form a hard crust after a rain. This condition is detrimental to germinating seedlings, because they often cannot exert enough force to break through the hard crust.
Late summer to early fall seedlings is preferable in the Southwest. The only notable exception is in the mountains of the upper southwest where spring seeding may be preferable.
When alfalfa is seeded in pure strands, most agronomists agree that 220-275 plants per sq. m (20-25 plants per sq. ft.) are needed for maximum yields during the first harvest year.
22.4 to 28 kg PLS/hectare
20 to 25 lbs. PLS /acre
NUMBER OF SEEDS:
200,000 per lb. (0.46 kg)
The various strains of Common Alfalfa produced in the United States are usually described by the name of the state in which they are grown such as Kansas or Oklahoma common, or by some other term descriptive of conditions, under which the seed is grown such as dry land, irrigated or non-irrigated alfalfa.
It is estimated that the common varieties of alfalfa comprise from 60 to 75% of the alfalfa grown in the United States and are adaptable to a larger territory than any other variety. They thrive as far north as Kansas and as far south as Texas and Louisiana. They are generally deep-rooted and, therefore can withstand long spells of dry, hot weather.
Ladak Alfalfa was originally introduced to the U.S. from northern India in 1910. It yields exceptionally well in the early part of the season. It is very winter hardy in areas of adaptation in northern New Mexico and Colorado.
Ranger is a multi-strain variety selected from Cossack, Turkistan and Ladak. Due to its varied parentage, the plants show individual characteristics. Variegated and yellow flowers are both found. The plants range from upright to sprawling Ranger is resistant to bacterial wilt, but it shows susceptibility to leafspot diseases and leafhopper yellowing. Ranger shows rapid recovery after cutting.
Zia Alfalfa is a strain that has been bred at New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Stations. Special emphasis has been placed on forage yield and quality. This variety was also bred for resistance to the spotted alfalfa aphid. More than any other variety, it has a greater resistance to plant diseases that are prevalent in New Mexico.