NDSU Extension - Ramsey County

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April 14, 2014 Agriculture Column

Howdy!!!

It was a great weekend in my books as the mighty Minnesota Gopher hockey team was beaten by Union, for the national championship.  I know there are plenty of Gopher fans in our area but no matter the sport I always choose the underdog unless it is a team I am following.  The one thing I know for sure; I was disappointed that the North Dakota lost to the Gophers, last Thursday.  It was by far the best game UND played all year and to lose with only a couple of ticks on the clock “stings”.  They can be very proud of their play and how they represented the state of North Dakota.  What a year:  NDSU Bison making the big show, UND making the frozen four, NDSU Bison winning the National championship for the third time in a row, UND women making the big show, Lakota-Adams Edmore making the state tournament and represented our area very well, Lake Region Lady Royals making the national tournament in Salina Kansas, fishing being absolutely great, and on my journey to Edmore on Saturday finally a drier spring.  I was very pleasantly surprised by the amount of water I saw, many flats were dry or very little water and the many different streams were running but very subpar, “hip hip hurray”.  It has been many years since we have had a spring where we could till through some of the areas plus it takes the pressure off of the big lake, for any high water predictions.  I do need to remind myself that there is still plenty of spring left but it is looking very encouraging. 

I had a phone call on Saturday about planting Alfalfa.  This producer is going to plant Roundup Ready Alfalfa and was asking things like how deep to plant and if a spring planting or fall planting was better.  I first reminded him to consider some of the resistance problems we are facing.  Not to say that he should not plant Roundup ready alfalfa but there are options.  On “PAGE 48 OF THE WEED CONTROL GUIDE” LISTS MANY OPTIONS FOR THE ALFALFA GROWER TO CONTROL WEEDS AND GRASSES”.  You do need to read and follow the label but weeds can be controlled.  Secondly, when planting alfalfa be reminded of a firm seedbed.  Any small seeds should be planted shallow and secondly 10-15 pounds of oats, barley or wheat would also aid in the establishment of the new seed as it will help protect the new planted seed some wind protection and shade for the first couple of months.  This particular producer was going to plant his alfalfa into standing wheat stubble in which case he will want to manage any weeds before planting.  We also talked about alfalfa tolerance to saline areas.  There is an alfalfa that is somewhat tolerant to saline areas but by any means 100 percent good, but will establish in some areas with lower salt levels.  

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