Establishing Alfalfa — The Pros and Cons of a Nurse Crop

The seeding pass is the most important one you make on your fields. This is true for annual crops, but perhaps even more so for perennial crops as these fields may need to produce for four, five or several more years. What’s more, forages can be quite tricky to establish, as the seeds are typically very small and sometimes also light. Using a nurse crop in conjunction when establishing alfalfa is one practice some farmers use, but it’s not always necessary says Glenn Friesen, provincial forage specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives.

In this interview with editor Lyndsey Smith, Friesen explains what seeding and soil conditions may warrant a nurse crop to go down with the alfalfa crop, but also covers why you may want to consider foregoing one. He also explains ideal harvesting timing of the nurse crop and the established stand, and why it’s important to consider soil fertility, especially in the year of establishment.

If you cannot see the embedded video, click here.


RealAgriculture Agronomy Team

A team effort of RealAgriculture videographers and editorial staff to make sure that you have the latest in agronomy information for your farm.


5 recommendations to keep Canadian farmland in farmers’ hands

Canada is losing farmland each day. It's not technically disappearing, mind you, it's being bought up, levelled, and paved over for new suburbs and shopping malls. It's also being speculated on, sometimes by surprising buyers — maybe it's local farmers, but more likely by an investment fund looking to cash in on the seemingly endless…Read more »


Leave a Reply