Alfalfa, Medicago sativa L., is a herbaceous perennial plant from family Fabaceae (peas and beans). It’s primarily grown as a forage crop which can be grazed by animals, harvested as hay and used as an animal feed or cut for silage. As a legume, alfalfa can fix nitrogen, so it can be used to increase nitrogen in the soil as a cover crop.
Alfalfa has a deep and vigorous root system, so it can deplete nutrients from the soil and also can tolerate dry periods. It’s adapted to grow in a wide variety of environments but it requires careful management to achieve its maximum productivity.
Management of Alfalfa Pests
Alfalfa has many pests, including insects and diseases, but the one that causes severe damage is alfalfa weevil. Infestations of this insect can be so destructive that alfalfa yield can be completly lost, so fields should be closely watched.
Larvae of alfalfa weevil damage the plant. In early spring, they hatch from eggs deposited in the plant stems and begin feeding within the folded leaves at the growing tips, making tiny “pinholes” in the leaves. As the larvae grow, they chew larger holes, giving the plants a shredded or skeletonized appearance. A heavy infestation of larvae can consume enough foliage that an entire field may take on a grayish appearance.
Weevil management in alfalfa is focused on the period before the first cutting; cutting the crop before budding can prevent serious damage and kill off most weevils. If an infestation is severe and if weevils continue feeding on the stubble and new growth, appropriate insecticides can be used.
How Farmers can Manage Pests with Agrivi System?
Beside proper time of treatment, farmers can use Agrivi system to help them manage alfalfa pests. Agrivi farm management system guides farmers which active substances and pesticide, depending on pest, they can use to treat more than 100 different crops, as well as alfalfa. The system gives them also an alert of possible pest attack, depending on current weather conditions on a particular field.
If farmers already know weather conditions that cause occurrence of some pests, the system allows them to create such pest alarm. To create an alarm, go to Alarm clock icon in the navigation bar – See all alarms – Weather alarms.
In weather alarm you can input an observation period, temperature, humidity, precip type and duration, and each alarm can be assigned to some crop production and one or all fields linked to that crop production.
In weather alarm farmers can also create an alarm for tracking of period of particular weather condition, e.g. will there be a rain on some field or not, so the farmer can prepare himself for spraying of crops. If entered weather conditions overlap with weather conditions in Agrivi forecast, an alarm will be visible on alarm clock icon in the navigation bar.
Don’t let the weather surprises you, use Agrivi weather alarms and manage your farm production in the most simple way.