Contributors to this thread:
Frost seeding alfalfa.?
Hello I have the 3x seed mix from grandpa rays which has alfalfa in it and was wondering if alfalfa can be frost seeded. Thanks Jeff W.
killbuck you may want to check your sources again.
My seed guy told me absolutely no. My friend tried it last year and had 100% failure.
Works great for clover. Alfalfa, not so much.
Grandpa Ray has a blog on Facebook today. 12-30
I was always told no and would rather not risk the expensive seed. But I would contact the dealer and see what there thoughts are.
The answers above to this question are really interesting. I've never frost seeded with alfalfa so I don't know. So, I need to ask, why doesn't frost seeding work with alfalfa? I've done it with clover with great success. Why the difference? BC
Actually tried it a couple of times after being advised it was not a good idea by a few of my farming buddies.They were correct the seeding failed miserably but I tried but not again clover works well or at least helps.Lewis
I tried it once, total failure...
Bro in law tried it and failed. Need to drill it in for better results.
Wouldn't want to spend $100.00 an acre on a maybe!
Bow Crazy, I have not frost seeded alfalfa. I did plant some last year. I have read that it is a superior forage, nutrient wise and for yield. Had a strange summer in Northern Michigan. Very cool summer. Different from previous summers that were hot but little rain.
I did overseed that plot and put down additional lime. Can't wait to see what happens this year.
2 points, alfalfa can not be overseeded after 1 year because of the autotoxicity trait. I did plant sunn hemp in another plot and also got very little growth, Sunn hemp needs heat. My first try was a complete disaster as I ended up with some strange, unidentified lime green colored grass.
The last point is, and I am no authority, regarding frost seeding alfalfa, it may have to do with dormancy. Most alfalfa does not green up early in the spring, so that is my guess on why frost seeding does not work.
Anyone who has grown alfalfa can offer any experience or tips, especially on the autotoxicity trait. That sounds counterproductive to a stand thickening for me.
Bowman, thanks for the info!
One of our Cooperative members planted Round Up Ready Alfalfa, a acre in 2016 I think. He says it is an amazing draw well into November here in Wisconsin. He said he mowed it one to help with grass control and that was all it needed. The deer kept it trimmed after that. BC
A couple of reasons I’ve heard of for why alfalfa doesn’t do very well are; the seeds are a bit larger, so they don’t work down into the soil during the freeze/thaw cycles. I’m not sure that I totally buy into that one. Another reason given is, that alfalfa doesn’t germinate evenly during cool spring weather, whereas clovers will.
Bowman X2 on the autotoxicity. Alfalfa produces some type of chemical or toxin that inhibits or stunts the growth of new seedlings.
What about overseeding a non-alfalfa plot with alfalfa seed? I have a chicory plus small burnet crop that needs some thickening up.
Clover and alfalfa are really small seed and needs only about a 1/8 inch in depth.
You can frost seed alfalfa provided you’re not seeding it into existing alfalfa. Existing alfalfa excretes a toxin which won’t allow any other seeding of alfalfa to grow.
the bigger question, is your soil right for alfalfa, clover will grow in a wider ph level of soils but alfalfa needs the soil to be right or you are waisting your money. I've had mixed results with frost seeding clover and none frost seeding alfalfa. Again, not to hijack but make sure soil is good on this one.
You CAN frost seed alfalfa. HOWEVER, it is VERY finicky and fails easily. Alfalfa is finicky in general. I frost seeded some last year in a clover mix. The clover did awesome, but the alfalfa only took on the edges where the seeds apparently were able to get cover from the thick edge cover.
I had a guy take a skid steer over 1/4 acre behind my cabin in mid-April after frost seeding season and hand spread Clover Plus (clover & alfalfa) and the alfalfa did GREAT from that straight seeding onto bare dirt.
I'd wait til weather is better.
good advices, thanks for sharing