Tom Barcellos, Tipton, CA, gets an extra year out of aging alfalfa fields by interseeding oats.

"We plant 25 lbs of oats per acre in a weakening third- or fourth-year conventional alfalfa stand; just enough not to smother the alfalfa. The oats seem to rejuvenate the alfalfa," he says.

He bales the oats-alfalfa mix for his dairy cows. "The oats are a huge factor in the dairy," he says. "When you feed dry cows oats as they are ready to freshen, you have less milk fever. Dairymen buy oats for that reason, but by mixing the oats with the alfalfa we don't have to buy oats."

That fourth-year alfalfa is then swathed and baled for the remainder of the year. In spring, the fifth-year alfalfa stand is taken out, but not before Barcellos interplants corn.

Source: Western Farm Press