Topdressing to Maintain High Forage Yields

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Producing high-quality forage efficiently is vital to the success of any dairy business. Even if the cost of fertilizer has changed the way many producers apply nutrients to alfalfa, maintaining good fertility levels is important to achieve high yields and productive stand life.

The chart below explains the key nutrients that are removed from the soil when a ton of alfalfa is produced.

Table - Pounds of nutrients removed per ton of alfalfa dry matter produced

Alfalfa is an efficient feeder of surface-applied nutrients, so topdressing alfalfa after cutting is effective for maintaining high yields. Even with high fertility levels at stand establishment, fertility levels can be quickly drawn down, if not recharged through topdressing of nutrients.