Roundup Ready (RR) alfalfa seed might be more expensive than other options, but most growers can offset that higher cost by planting at rates lower than they’re accustomed to using, says University of Nebraska Extension forage specialist Bruce Anderson.

Seeding rates can be reduced by 15-20% for many growers planting RR alfalfa compared to previous varieties, according to research results. “That means if you normally plant 15 lbs/acre of seed, with Roundup Ready alfalfa you probably can do as well with just 12 lbs/acre. That can lower your seed cost by more than $20/acre.”

There is one catch: “To get good stands when using lower seeding rates of Roundup Ready alfalfa, you need to do a good job of following establishment recommendations,” says Anderson.

Among his recommendations:

  • Prepare a proper, firm seedbed.
  • Apply fertilizer and lime as needed according to soil-test recommendations.
  • Use a correctly adjusted drill or seeder that will place the right amount of seed at the right depth.
  • Plant on time.
  • Spray Roundup before weeds and alfalfa seedlings are more than 3” tall.
For more information on the agronomics of Roundup Ready alfalfa, see “Cut Roundup Ready Costs” on page 6 of our March issue of Hay & Forage Grower or read the text online at hayandforage.com.