Alfalfa may be considered the “queen” of forages, but it is also known for its low tolerance of less than ideal soil conditions and management. Maintaining high yielding, persistent alfalfa stands can be challenging, particularly when soils are limited by imperfect drainage or compaction.

In the July 2012 Farm Report from the W.H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute, Eric Young discusses research that shows wheel traffic damage from normal harvesting operations caused alfalfa yield reductions as high as 80 percent.

He also outlines five management practices to help minimize alfalfa damage caused by wheel traffic and compaction.