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Potassium Fertilization Requirements for Intensively Managed Modern Alfalfa

Start Date: 2011
Principal Investigator: Craig Scheaffer
Organization: University of Minnesota, Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics
Status: Complete

Background Info

Alfalfa is the most important perennial forage crop in Minnesota. There is a critical need for information about the potassium (K) fertilization for intensively managed modern alfalfa varieties. This project determined the effects of K fertilizer application on the forage yield and forage quality of alfalfa varieties with improved disease resistance and yield potential. Potassium’s role in long-term alfalfa stand persistence was explored, and K uptake of alfalfa was determined.


Measure alfalfa stands in May and evaluate yield at four locations to determine treatment effects.

Key Findings

C646 yield and ear length were consistently higher than the other hybrids across all treatments, and the data suggest that elevated competition for N (low N rates) at high plant populations generates shorter ears.

Overall, yields were highest in May

Potassium fertilization did not increase forage quality parameters.

Alfalfa variety response to K fertilization was similar.

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