Lucerne, Easy

Barenbrug has developed Yellow Jacket Nitrogenerator®, a seed enhancement which makes it possible to place Rhizobium bacteria directly on the seed. This seed saves labour and increases the certainty of optimal crop establishment. Yellow Jacket Nitrogenerator® embeds bacteria in a polymer matrix around the seed. Extra nutrients and preservatives have been added to this coating to increase shelf life.


Apart from choosing lucerne seed with Yellow Jacket Nitrogenerator®, the right soil type, optimal fertilisation and correct harvesting methods will contribute to high forage yields. This crop management manual provides you with the necessary information to get the most out of your Yellow Jacket Nitrogenerator® lucerne seed.

Establishing a new field

Field requirements 


Minimum of 6.

Weed pressure

Select field with low weed pressure. Cereal is an ideal pre-fruit.

Level of drainage Well drained.
Soil structure

Breaking up compacted soil layers (>45cm).


> 3 years no lucerne grown on the field because of autotoxicity.


Lucerne performs best on loamy sandy soil, loam and clay.


Read more about field preparation.



Sowing recommendations

Sowing period 

Mid-March to First week of september.

To supress weeds, for example no-till, the best sowing time is late summer.

Seed rate 25/30 kg/ha. Can be mixed with 5 kg of red or alexandrine clover.
Cover crop Combine 25 kg of alfalfa with, for example, 3 kg of red clover / 1 kg of white clover or 5 kg of ProtaFix.
Sowing depth 1 - 2 cm. Use a cambridgeroller after seeding. 
Row distance

8 - 12.5 cm. Choose short spacing between rows to avoid weeds.


Fine top layer but firm seedbed.


Read more about sowing.



Fertilization recommendations per year per hectare*

Lime (CaCO3) Apply lime for minimum pH of 6.
Nitrogen (N)

In cold spring use 15-25 kg N for the start.

Phosphorus (P) 80 - 110 kg P2O5/ha on sandy and clay soils.
Potassium (K)

260 - 300 kg K/ha on sandy soil.

235 - 270 kg K/ha on clay soil.
Magnesium (Mg)

50 kg MgO/ha only on sandy soil.

* Perform soil analysis for specific recommendations, including Sulphur (S), Molybdenum (Mo) and Boron (B).


Read more about fertilization.

Weeds and pests control

Weeds and pests control recommendations

Mechanical  control

Control the weeds by mowing/topping

if they grow above the lucerne.

Avoid bare spots: don’t cut lucerne too short.
Avoid damage from traffic by using low pressure tires.

Chemical control

Contact local distributor or advisory service for available products.


Read more about diseases.

Read more about nematodes.


Harvesting recommendations

Moment of harvest

Cut at 5 - 10 % of flowering plants.

Weather conditions Cut at dry weather conditions only.
Stubble length 7 - 10 cm. Lower cutting heights kills new sprouts.
Recovery time Lucerne needs to re-grow up to 10 – 15 cm before winter strikes.
Reduce leaf loss

Cut with mower + roller conditioner.

After cut before winter strikes.


Reliable silage additives are recommended to reduce silage quality loss.

Compress and close silage clamp as fast as possible!


Read more about harvesting.


Where to buy?

Where can you buy Yellow Jacket Nitrogenerator®?