Country Visions News > Increasing Third Crop Yields in Alfalfa

Increasing Third Crop Yields in Alfalfa

Jul 22, 2020

Anyone who grows alfalfa knows the importance of getting a good yield from his or her crop. Dairy farmers are depending on alfalfa to feed their cows. As second crop finishes up and third crop regrowth begins, there are different actions that can be taken to increase yields.
 
Currently, one of the biggest yield threats that is expected to be a problem is potato leafhoppers. With the recent hot stretch of weather, there have been increasing numbers of leafhoppers in alfalfa. Leafhopper adults are roughly an eighth of an inch long and are a bright lime green color. The adults hop and fly. Nymphs look very similar; however, they do not fly and are smaller in size. 

What kind of damage do leafhoppers cause? Leafhopper damage is often referred to as “hopper burn.” (Damage can be viewed in the picture). When leafhoppers feed on the sap within the alfalfa leaf, they also leave their saliva on the alfalfa. This feeding stunts the growth and photosynthesis of the plant. 

So what can be done to combat this? If leafhoppers are expected to be causing damage at or above threshold, an insecticide application is a great way to manage and help prevent further loss of yield. 

High yielding alfalfa crops take key nutrients out of the field and lower soil fertility. If a field is due for regular soil testing, typically every four years, between crops is a good window to test your soil. The results obtained will provide good insight as to how much fertilizer we need to apply. Fertilizer applications will replenish your field, and bring your yields back up. 

 

 



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