Alfalfa is a perennial legume that can be planted to grow in areas of your field that you don’t need to plant with grain. It can be used as animal feed, but it can also be used as a cover crop, which means it grows and then is killed by frost or other means so it doesn’t compete with your next crop.
Alfalfa has some great benefits when planted with oats. One of the biggest benefits is that it helps control erosion by holding soil in place. It can also help reduce weed growth and increase your yields by up to 20%. It also attracts beneficial insects, which are helpful for controlling pests on crops like corn and soybeans.
Planting alfalfa with oats is a great way to increase your crop yield. Alfalfa is a legume, which means it has the ability to fix nitrogen in the soil. This means that when you plant alfalfa, you can expect to see higher yields from other crops such as oats, wheat, and corn because of the extra nitrogen provided by alfalfa.
If you are growing alfalfa, consider Planting Alfalfa With Oatts. Both crops have similar benefits, such as reducing weed biomass and increasing yield. While oats are more difficult to store and transport, they are a good rotation crop for alfalfa. The added benefit is that planting these two crops will reduce weed competition and cost you less than the price of a companion crop.
Reduces weed biomass
While it is not a surefire way to reduce weed biomass, many producers find that alfalfa can help in crop rotations. In a study of western Canadian farmers, 84% of them said planting alfalfa with oats reduced weed biomass. The study also demonstrated that reducing the weed biomass from alfalfa in crop rotations could increase yields.
The research team studied the effects of companion cropping on alfalfa establishments. Their experiment was performed in the presence of soybean and corn crops. Although the reduced herbicide treatment increased weed biomass, it did not have any negative impact on crop yields or net return. Alfalfa forage yields were not affected, and the reduced herbicide treatment only increased alfalfa biomass in the seeding year. In the second year, however, the weed biomass was almost never higher, and the differences in yields and net return were similar. Friend explained that there was no direct correlation between reduced herbicide input and lower yields and weed biomass in corn and soybeans.
Wheat forage crops, including winter triticale, were also associated with wild oat. In trials 1, the clover crop started growing earlier than the weeds. The fall rye grain treatment showed the lowest weed density. Similarly, previous year crops were best at competing with weeds. The only exception to this was wild buckwheat, which was more abundant in fall rye.
Weed management should begin with crop selection. Choosing the right crop and sequence is key to successfully managing the weeds in your crop rotation. The choice of crops can minimize the presence of weeds. Studies showed that alfalfa was four times more dense than the next crop. In addition, red clover is much more competitive than alfalfa.
Increasing oat seeding rates has several benefits, including decreased weed biomass. Higher oat seeding rates increased yield and reduced weed biomass. The researchers also found that the higher seeding rate was associated with lower weed biomass. This finding suggests that alfalfa can suppress weeds and improve the yield of small grains. However, alfalfa is not a suitable crop for organic systems.
One study found that planting Alfalfa with Oats increased forage yields by an average of 0.2 to 0.5 tons per acre. However, alfalfa’s competition with oats reduced forage yields in subsequent cuttings. During the second growing season, however, Alfalfa yields increased by an average of 0.5 tons per acre.
The oats that are planted with alfalfa act as weeds that strip seedlings of sunlight, moisture, and nutrients. If the soil is particularly erosive, this may be beneficial. Depending on the alfalfa variety, however, planting with oats can increase yields by as much as 25%. In this case, it is critical to plant oats earlier in the growing season.
ILs also affect forage yields. Oats may reduce alfalfa stem density by as much as 20 percent. In a study conducted by the University of Illinois, the ILs of alfalfa and oats varied by 15 percent. This variation was not statistically significant. The oat-alfalfa stand in the check-treatment had between 10 and 15 percent weeds, which added to the forage weight. However, the IL levels of alfalfa and oats increased yields by an average of 27 kg ha-1.
In many cases, alfalfa is not seeded with an oat companion crop. This is due to the presence of the oat crop, which can compete with alfalfa for nutrients and space. When it is seeded with oats, the stand density of alfalfa is significantly lower and the forage quality is less than pure alfalfa seeded fields.
The timing of the planting depends on the soil conditions. Alfalfa is better seeded in the spring than in late summer because the temperature is cool and the moisture level is sufficient. It is not recommended to plant Alfalfa in the summer, due to weeds. However, the first two weeks of August may be suitable if the soil is moist enough. Planting after August 15th may result in weed competition.
While alfalfa is sown alone and with a herbicide, it is best to grow it with a companion crop. Oats, for example, can help increase alfalfa’s yield by up to 20%. They also help establish nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the soil. A good stand of alfalfa will greatly benefit the productivity of the entire crop.
Enhances winter survival
The benefits of planting Alfalfa with oats are many. For starters, alfalfa requires good soil structure and an extensive root system. Moreover, the plants require contractile growth in the crown below the grown. This area is the most winter-hardy part of the plant, which is also where bud development for spring regrowth occurs. In addition, researchers found that the later you plant Alfalfa, the less yields you’ll get the following year.
Despite its high water demand, alfalfa requires adequate water for its growth. Soil types suitable for growing alfalfa include sandy to clay loamy soils. Clay dominated soils may pose water management issues. Alfalfa is not best planted during the summer because it is susceptible to weeds. However, it’s possible to plant alfalfa during the first two weeks of August, as long as the soil moisture level is still sufficient. Planting after August 15th can cause damage to the crop.
While oats have traditionally been considered a good companion crop for alfalfa, there are other small grains that can work just as well. Oats have the advantage of being short, allowing maximum sunlight to reach the alfalfa seedlings. While oats are good for winter survival, they can also compete with alfalfa seedlings for water, nutrients, and light. If planted alongside alfalfa, the companion crop will protect the young seedlings and prevent alfalfa from competing for water, nutrients, and light.
When you plant Alfalfa, it is important to avoid frost heaving. If the crown is lifted by more than an inch, alfalfa is likely to die. However, if it’s lifted an inch, the plant’s crowns are prepared for spring growth last fall. Afterwards, they must start the growth from fresh buds, which may take up to 10-14 days longer than normal.
As with any other crop, timing is important. Not only does seeding occur in the spring, but it’s also important to ensure that the weather conditions are right. Proper seeding timing is essential to a successful stand. While no one time period will satisfy all of the conditions, producers should weigh their advantages and disadvantages. This way, they can avoid potential crop failures. So, plant Alfalfa with Oats to maximize winter survival and yield.
Does not cost as much as companion crop
If you have not tried planting Alfalfa with Oats, you should! This companion crop improves yield and weed control. It also protects seedlings during alfalfa establishment. The weed-killing properties of oats can help protect seedlings from wind-blown soil and erosion. Studies have shown that planting Alfalfa with oats significantly reduces the risk of weeds. In addition, the companion crop can improve the first-cut forage yield of alfalfa by one to 2.5 tons per acre.
Many experienced gardeners see oats as a companion crop. However, in some soils, oats can compete with alfalfa seedlings for nutrients and moisture. Planting Alfalfa with Oats is not as expensive as planting alfalfa without oats. If your soil is very erosive, half a bushel of oats may be necessary. Using a herbicide to kill oats is a better option than weeding.
The seeding rate of oats and alfalfa is different. Usually, alfalfa seed is sown with a seeding rate of 0.5 to one inch per acre, while oats seeding is at least two inches deep. For optimal weed suppression and seeding success, oats should be sown at a rate of 10 to 15 pounds per acre.
If you are considering a companion crop, consider Italian ryegrass, as this grass is a high-quality variety that is highly palatable to dairy cows. This herb can help prevent soil erosion while simultaneously providing additional competition against weeds. While Alfalfa is the ideal companion crop, planting oats with Alfalfa is not as costly as some people believe.