University of Arkansas researchers successfully seeded alfalfa into clipped bermudagrass sod. But seeding rates higher than the recommended 20 lbs/acre didn't improve yield.

They mowed bermudagrass to a 2" stubble, removed the residue and no-till seeded alfalfa at 10, 20, 30 and 40 lbs/acre. They wanted to find out if higher rates would improve the odds of establishment success. Results had been inconsistent in earlier sod-seeding trials.

Alfalfa seedling density increased with increasing seeding rate, and plots seeded at 40 lbs/acre still had the highest plant density a year later. But dry matter yields were about the same among the seeding rates.

For all rates above 10 lbs/acre, most of the harvested forage was alfalfa. The researchers say its shading drastically reduced bermudagrass growth throughout the season.

They concluded that interseeding alfalfa into bermudagrass is a viable option for growers wanting to produce high-quality hay. They recommend a 20-lb/acre seeding rate, but say even 10 lbs/acre can provide enough alfalfa to improve forage quality.