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Waiting Period for Returning Field to Alfalfa Production

Wait one calendar year before reseeding alfalfa into destroyed alfalfa beds.   Auto-toxicity in alfalfa decreases germination and early root development.   Besides stand loss, thin stands will remain with the alfalfa for its longevity.

Predicting the degree of auto-toxicity is difficult.  Previous alfalfa stand density, soil properties, and environment properties are all factors in the amount of allelopathy in the field and chemical breakdown.  In general, a sandy soil will lose auto-toxicity chemicals before a clay soil. 

Cost of alfalfa seeding, poor stands, and further attempts to fix thin stands are discouragements to rush seeding before the one year rest period.

Also, growing another crop/annual forage between alfalfa destruction and reseeding will not be sufficient to break auto-toxicity.  Keep to the one calendar year rest period recommendation. 

Reduce auto-toxicity from the field by removing as much aboveground biomass as possible.  Auto-toxic chemicals are the highest in the leaves and flowers.

There is no difference in wait period between conventional and glyphosate resistant varieties.  Wait one year for all varieties.

Source: Dr. Marisol Berti, NDSU Dept. of Plant Science, personal communication, 2014 and Managing Alfalfa Autotoxicity, J. Volenec and K. Johnson, Department of Agronomy, Purdue University, 2004.

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