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New Way To Seed Alfalfa
You can get a better stand and rapid early growth that might double the yield of your first hay cutting if you seed your alfalfa along with liquid fertilizer, according to a custom operator in Pennsylvania who began performing the unusual service for customers last year.
Forry's Ag Service, of Lancaster, mixes alfalfa seed at a rate of about 20 lbs. per acre with liquid suspended fertilizer. The mix is then sprayed onto fields through No. 50 flood jet nozzles, often traveling at speeds up to 20 acres per hour. Once applied, the seeded ground is rolled with a roller or culti-packer.
"It's important to thoroughly prepare the seedbed and to roll it well afterwards. I recommend rolling the field twice, going crosswise the second time, if possible," says Dick Forry, who operates the custom operation with his son Gary and son-in-law Ira Herr.
Some farmers are making amazing claims about the benefits of seeding alfalfa the Forry way. One farmer claims he got double his neighbor's yields on his first cuttings because of the fast start. Another says that, although he planted a week later than his neighbor, his crop was 2 to 3 in. taller than his neighbor's at the 6 in. stage. Another farmer notes that, although he didn't spray on his alfalfa, he's convinced it works after watching his neighbor produce a crop that was "twice as good as mine. It starts out like a pistol and is as even as can be."
No modification of the sprayer is needed to seed alfalfa. The Forrys add the seed when the suspended fertilizer solution is mixed. A 3-in. pump on their sprayer keeps the seed suspended in the 5-16-16 fertilizer that's applied at a rate of 400 to 500 lbs. per acre. According to Dick Forry, it's the density of the suspended mix which has clay mixed into it that makes the alfalfa seeding idea work.
"One farmer tried to seed the alfalfa using just water and it didn't work because the seed tended to swirl around and bunch up. In the fertilizer solution, it spreads out evenly and seeds beautifully," he told FARM SHOW. "The key advantage is that you've got the fertilizer right where it's needed."
Forry notes that you can also add herbicides and insecticides to the mix for even more on-the-spot control. The company doesn't charge extra for the seeding service. Forry has found that the service has been a good way to attract customers. "The results speak for themselves," he notes.
One important aspect of spray-seeding is calibration. The sprayer must be calibrated exactly to get the right amount of seed on each field. Also, the rig must be cleaned out well between loads to prevent plugging. Forry uses round tanks because, in the hilly country around their part of Pennsylvania, they find the round tanks empty better.
Forry is willing to help anyone who wants to try the method of seeding.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Forry's Ag Service, 2020 Horseshoe Road, Lancaster, Penn. 17601 (ph 717 397-0035).


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1984 - Volume #8, Issue #3