Alfalfa production in the South is not a new idea. In fact, many years ago, alfalfa was once the dominant perennial legume species used in the region. However, harsh environmental conditions and cheap nitrogen fertilizer soon eliminated many productive alfalfa stands. In recent years, there has been an increase in educational efforts, plantings, and adoption of alfalfa in the South, a trend that is expected to continue as researchers investigate the variety of applications of alfalfa in the region. University research, as well as farmer experience, has determined interseeding alfalfa into warm-season perennial grass sods provides great potential for extending the growing season, improved forage quality, and easily fits into current livestock-forage systems with minimal management adjustments.
While regional materials have been developed in various formats, a centralized reference guide that focused specifically on alfalfa-bermudagrass mixtures was needed. To address this need the National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance (NAFA), in cooperation with lead author Jennifer Tucker of the University of Georgia, has recently released the Alfalfa Bermudagrass Management Guide and Alfalfa Bermudagrass Mixture Management Calendar as quick and handy dashboard resources for livestock and forage farmers in the South interested in this unique mixture.
The 25-page guide, with a supplemental 11”x17” management calendar, provides important information regarding establishment, management and use, integrated pest management (weeds, insects, and plant diseases), and economics of alfalfa-bermudagrass systems across the “Bermudagrass Belt,” a region that spans from coast to coast encompassing the entire southern portion of the United States and much of the transition zone.
“Alfalfa is a high quality, highly valuable forage crop with variable applications across the nation and world,” said Beth Nelson, NAFA President. “This publication emphasizes the important contributions alfalfa makes to the pasture system and reinforces the idea that alfalfa can, in fact, be grown and utilized in mixtures successfully in the South.”
The publication, designed to be an easily handled, convenient, “dashboard pub,” is intended for livestock and forage farmers, Extension, industry personnel, and anyone interested in alfalfa bermudagrass systems and expanding alfalfa utilization in the South.
Watch for copies of these publications at upcoming national conferences, Extension trainings, meetings, field days, and events throughout 2022. Copies can also be downloaded free of charge or ordered for $2/copy on the Publications page of NAFA’s website at alfalfa.org/publications.php. Get your copy today!