Should I Replant a Failed Fall Seeding and Move to Primary Spring Seedings?

Seeding/Planting question asked by Travis in Ballard County 7 months ago.


I finished a fall seeding of alfalfa in September of 2019, however, due to the lack of rain following seeding, and then an odd winter pattern, I've got sporadic germination and emergence, and overall a poor stand.

My original seed cost was around $6.00/lb for a technology fee, and then $5.00/lb for the seed.  The replant policy omits the technology fee and decreases the seed cost by 50% -- so effectively replant will cost $2.50/lb.

Secondary to this, with today's improved varieties and seed treatments, would it be better to migrate away from preferred fall seedings in favor of spring seedings when it's more likely that soil conditions could support rapid growth?  Specifically with RoundUp Ready varieties, and improved varieties with traits giving higher resistance to disease, as well as fungicide treatments to seed.

There are three fields in the pictures below.

Seeding/Planting in Ballard County
posted 7 months ago
Travis H.
Ballard County

1 Answer Posted

This post is marked as an accepted answer for the question.

I definitely suggest overseeding these hayfields. It's great you have the option to repurchase the seed at a greatly reduced price. Since the last seeding was in the fall, then autotoxicity will not have built up enough to reduce the new seedlings. Note: mature alfalfa plants exude a toxin that inhibits the growth of new alfalfa seedlings. Fortunately the growth of other forages is not affected. That's why you can interseed orchardgrass into an existing alfalfa stand and interseed red clover into an old alfalfa stand that's thinning out.

Some producers like fall seeding, but it's essential for fall seedings occur by the end of August, or by mid-August in northern KY, to allow enough growth for winter survival and to avoid Sclerotinia damage. Spring seeding generally works well and the advent of Roundup Ready alfalfa have made spring seeding even easier because summer annual weeds are easy to control.

answered 6 months ago
Ray Smith
Jessamine County
Official Public Agronomist (Extension Agent)

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