An unintended experiment is working well for Heim’s Hillcrest Dairy.
A group of PPF members and agronomists explored alfalfa interseeded with corn on July 25 in a field near Kewaunee.
This experiment is the second time the farm has tried this practice. While the first time was planned, in this case, planters came to the same field on the same day inadvertently. It looked identical to the other fields so it was planted on accident. “We are excited to see if it works,” said Jeremy Heim of Heim’s Hillcrest Dairy and Heim Brothers Custom.
Alfalfa was planted first using a Brillion seeder and corn planting followed. The corn was planted two inches deep on May 17 but there was no rain. The alfalfa didn’t start growing for four weeks but started coming in well after that. Two different spray passes took place to control weeds, but there is still some grass in the field.
“The goal is to take the corn for silage. If the alfalfa is 1.5 feet tall, it may give us a little grief,” Jeremy said.
Spray penetration worked pretty well when the corn was maybe 6-8 inches tall. “The goal was to get the alfalfa established but the corn gets tall enough to stop the growth,” said Jake Geiger, agronomist with Tilth Agronomy who works with Heim.
If they were to do it differently, they would use a Roundup ready variety of alfalfa and a higher fertility field. “I normally wouldn’t plant alfalfa into a field I don’t have ramped up with good nutrients,” said Jeremy.
They are curious to see what the corn yield will be and the biggest challenge noted will be harvesting the field without rutting it up and harming the alfalfa.
Will they try it again next year?
“I’ll answer that in a month or two,” said Jeremy, with a grin.