No-till alfalfa stand termination strategies: Alfalfa control and wheat and barley production

W. J. Bullied, M. H. Entz, S. R. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Crop rotations involving perennial alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) present the unique problem of terminating the alfalfa stand. Intensive tillage currently used to terminate alfalfa increases the risk of soil erosion and reduces many of the rotational benefits from alfalfa. Inadequate alfalfa termination results in severe competition to the following crop by surviving alfalfa plants. Field experiments were conducted in Manitoba between 1991 and 1993 with the following objectives: 1) to investigate no-till vs. tillage management systems for successful alfalfa termination, 2) to compare fall vs. spring alfalfa termination, 3) to compare the performance of barley (Hordeum vulgate L.) and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) seeded into alfalfa residue, and 4) to determine the relationship between alfalfa escapes and grain yield. Fall termination produced higher grain yields than spring termination, however this advantage was only achieved with the better termination treatments capable of lowering alfalfa regrowth below a critical level. The best herbicide treatment tested here was glyphosate at 1.78 kg a.i. ha-1. Successful treatments would have to reduce residual alfalfa basal crown area (a measure of alfalfa regrowth potential) after cereal grain harvest to below 2%. Alfalfa escapes reduced yield of following wheat and barley crops similarly (P > 0.05). When alfalfa termination treatment method allowed some regrowth, in-crop herbicide treatments significantly reduced alfalfa basal crown area. Results of this study indicate that it is feasible to terminate alfalfa with herbicides in the absence of tillage, however an overall cropping strategy, including adequate consideration of weeds present in alfalfa fields at time of termination, must be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-83
Number of pages13
JournalCanadian Journal of Plant Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999


  • Alfalfa regrowth
  • Competition
  • Herbicides
  • No-till
  • Recropping
  • Soil conservation
  • Sustainable cropping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science
  • Horticulture


Dive into the research topics of 'No-till alfalfa stand termination strategies: Alfalfa control and wheat and barley production'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this