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When should we sow alfalfa?

Spring or autumn?

When sowing alfalfa, we must first take into account the fulfillment of the conditions for germination and sprouting of seeds. Thus, at the depth of sowing, there must be enough moisture for the seeds to germinate and the alfalfa seedlings to grow. Thus, we can say that alfalfa is pretentious to the humidity conditions when sprouting.

Secondly, after sprouting it is necessary to have the necessary heat, in order to be able to grow. If we meet these conditions, sowing can be done both in autumn and spring. Taking into account the climatic conditions in Romania, in most years, when sowing in autumn we must fulfill the need for water by irrigation.

The advantage of sowing in autumn is that we have a crop that starts faster in vegetation (growth) in the spring of the next year, and thus this ensures a higher production, and at the same time less weeding.

Sowing in spring has the advantage of providing the necessary water for sprouting from rainfall in most years, but a higher risk of weeding of the crop, thus requiring a weed control program.

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Let’s understand better the dormancy phenomenon for alfalfa

The dormancy for alfalfa is given by the height of the plant 25 days after the harvest, for the culture established in spring.

To determine the degree of dormancy, a grading system from 1 to 11 is used. The varieties with dormancy 1 are the most dormant and those with dormancy 11 are the least dormant.

Long-dormant varieties easily survive harsh winters and survive low temperatures, but do not excel in fodder production.

The less dormant varieties achieve high fodder yields, materialized as a larger number of mowing activities, but are not very resistant to frost.

For the Romanian climate, after several years of research it was concluded that the varieties with a dormancy between 4 and 5 are the most efficient. This range ensures a good balance between fodder production and resistance to low temperatures.

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Coupled support for alfalfa cultivation

It is important for all alfalfa cultivators to know that subsidies of between 55 and 100 euros per hectare can be obtained, at the expense of coupled support. These amounts will increase in stages by 2020.

What must be done in order to benefit from this money?

Let’s prove that the production obtained will be consumed on the farm, by our own animals.

If the farm does not have a livestock, we will make contracts with other livestock farms or alfalfa processors.

Let’s not forget the greening package where we can receive another 53 euros per hectare. This package is valid for all growers with an area of more than 15 hectares cultivated, of which 5% must be represented by green crops, which includes alfalfa.

If we take into account the single payment per hectare in the amount of 77 euros, we will total an amount of 185 euros for one hectare cultivated with alfalfa.

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