Harvesting 10 tons of alfalfa per acre is not an impossible goal in Nebraska, says Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska extension forage specialist.
"But it will take top management and a lot of cooperation from Mother Nature to reach it," says Anderson. "We've done it in small research plots, but on a commercial scale it will mean proper replenishment of nutrients, irrigation or plenty of rainfall at the right times, and very minimal harvest losses."
If a grower already is applying recommended amounts of the major and minor nutrients, significant yield gains from a new fertilizer product or program would be surprising, says Anderson.
However, he encourages farmers to try new fertilizers and other products said to increase yield.
"There's no way," he states, "that any university or commercial concern is going to have a monopoly on whatever might be the next yield-enhancing breakthrough. But we've also got to recognize that sometimes what appears to be increasing yield is occurring when other factors in that same field are also enhancing yield. So a cause-and-effect relationship may not truly be established."
Test new products in strips more than one year before reaching conclusions about their merits. Manage treated and untreated areas identically to avoid yield differences due to factors other than the treatments, Anderson advises.