Alfalfa Banner

A Proven Solution for Weed Management in California Alfalfa


Crops like alfalfa that go dormant or experience minimal winter growth leave a wide-open canopy that exposes soil to sunlight, making it susceptible to weed growth. Hairy fleabane, shepherd’s purse, common groundsel and other weeds will take advantage of the open canopy to germinate and establish with little competition.

Hairy fleabane has become a nightmare for alfalfa growers in California's Central Valley -- and a greater amount of fleabane seems to pop up in alfalfa each year.

In hay bales, fleabane emits an odor, causes stems to become woody and less palatable, and lowers feed values, which often leads to discounted prices to growers.

The solution to the fleabane weed problem: Velpar® by NovaSource®, which delivers broad-spectrum control, using contact for burndown and maintaining dominance through residual coverage.

University of California Cooperative Extension Advisor Emeritus Mick Canevari first noticed the fleabane problem about 15 years ago. Through his research, he learned that, as a pre-emergent herbicide, Velpar provides positive efficacy on fleabane for the window of germination during the alfalfa dormant period of November to February.

"Velpar, in my estimation, has remained a foundation herbicide in alfalfa since its inception when used during the dormant period for controlling many of our broadleaf weed issues," Canevari said. "When a PCA or a grower asks for fleabane control recommendations, I routinely suggest Velpar as one of the few tools that is effective."

Velpar, a Group 5 herbicide, is a water-dispersible granule that is applied as a spray. The mode of action is primarily root uptake, with some foliar activity on small, emerging dicot weeds, including groundsel.

Canevari recommends mixing Velpar with post-herbicides used during the dormant period, as this approach can control difficult weeds like fleabane, shepherd’s purse and winter grasses.

Additional control can be achieved by utilizing Velpar® AlfaMax or Velpar® AlfaMax Gold. These special formulations utilize different ratio combinations of hexazinone (Group 5) and diuron (Group 7) to deliver a one-two punch.

Choose Velpar this season for reliable, proven weed control. Contact your local NovaSource representative today.