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Alfalfa into Tall Fescue Sod

The Question

What are your thoughts about no-tilling alfalfa into fescue sod?  The producer plans on using Roundup with some 28%.  I have not seen this done much in the fall. If he were to do this, it would be the year here as we have plenty of moisture right now in southern Indiana (but who knows in August).  What would you recommend?

My Answers

In moisture sufficient times the technique can work.  I question whether the 28% is necessary. My other concern besides a dry seedbed in late August and September is whether the fescue will be totally controlled with one application of Roundup.  If he seeks elimination, a safer approach would be to apply the Roundup in late September or early October and, hopefully, just spot spray in the early spring.  Seeding can then be accomplished in a timely fashion before late April.  Another more conservative approach is to seed a summer-annual grass like pearl millet, sudangrass, or sorghum-sudangrass next spring following the Roundup applications and to seed the alfalfa next August.  This provides another opportunity for controlling any remaining or volunteer tall fescue.

If no-till seeding is done be careful with the depth that the seed is placed.  I like to place alfalfa at a depth of one-quarter inch.  As a point of information, the preferred terminology for an August seeding is a late-summer seeding and not a fall seeding.

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Keith Johnson
Professor of Agronomy and Forage Crops Specialist
1150 Lilly Hall of Life Sciences
West Lafayette, IN 47907-1150
phone: 765-494-4800
fax: 765-496-2926


For more forage information contact Dr. Keith Johnson: johnsonk@purdue.edu

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