Alfalfa is a perennial crop, which means it will grow in the same field three to five years in a row without replanting. Farmers like alfalfa because it is a legume plant which places nitrogen in the soil. The nitrogen is food for the soil and helps feed other plants such as corn that may be grown later in the same field.
Is alfalfa a good crop?
Alfalfa is the most important forage crop in North America. It is currently grown on approximately 26 million acres in the USA. Because alfalfa is easily genetically transformed, it is often considered as the ideal plant to use in large-scale production of transgenic products.
Can alfalfa pellets prevent nutrient deficiencies in organic crops?
After the collapse of the export market, the feasibility of alfalfa pellets as an alternate nutrient source to prevent nutrient deficiencies in organic crops was tested in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Where does alfalfa grow?
The United States and Argentina are the world’s largest alfalfa-producing countries, but significant land area is devoted to alfalfa in Australia, South and North Africa, Southern Europe, Chile, Mexico, Canada, China, and the Middle East. Alfalfa is a perennial, autotetraploid, partially self-sterile leguminous forage ( Rumbaugh et al., 1988 ).
Is alfalfa good for horses?
Alfalfa is a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are beneficial for the horse. G. L. Ward and co-workers ( 36) concluded that 20–30% of the calcium in alfalfa is in the form of oxalate and is apparently unavailable to ruminants.
Why is alfalfa so important?
Alfalfa is best known for its value and importance as a high-protein feed source in dairy and beef production systems, but few are aware of alfalfa’s many benefits in protecting the soil, providing wildlife habitat, and fixing biological nitrogen so farmers require less fertilizer on subsequent crops.
What is alfalfa used for in agriculture?
Alfalfa (/ælˈfælfə/) (Medicago sativa), also called lucerne, is a perennial flowering plant in the legume family Fabaceae. It is cultivated as an important forage crop in many countries around the world. It is used for grazing, hay, and silage, as well as a green manure and cover crop.
Is alfalfa a commodity crop?
Commodity Value – Among United States crops, alfalfa is third in value, after corn and soybeans. Its national value is more than $8 billion each year, not including the value of dairy or other animal products, which are the final products of alfalfa.
What are the benefits of growing alfalfa?
Here are 10 great benefits to using alfalfa in your garden:Good Source of Minerals. Alfalfa is a good source of nitrogen, along with several other minerals including: … Builds Organic Matter. … Feeds Microorganisms. … Stimulates Growth. … Fixes Nitrogen. … Stimulates Compost. … Controls Harmful Nematodes. … Provides Drought Resistance.More items…•
Why is it important to farm so much alfalfa even though it uses a significant amount of water?
Biologists have determined that 28% of California’s wildlife use alfalfa for nesting, feeding, or cover. Even partial-season irrigation during drought can assist wildlife in survive a drought period by using alfalfa as habitat.
Why alfalfa is said as the Queen of the forage crops?
Alfalfa has been called the “queen of forages” because of its remarkable ability to produce high yields of nutritious, palatable forage under a wide range of soil and climatic conditions.
Is hay an agricultural commodity?
Story highlights. Humble hay has become a key commodity in the US agricultural market, with price gains in drought-stressed areas far outpacing the rally in corn and soyabean prices and further straining the country’s beleaguered cattle industry.
Is alfalfa good for cows?
Alfalfa is recognized as one of the most nutritious forages available and is widely used as conserved forage (ex, hay, silage) in the diets of beef and dairy cattle.
Where is alfalfa grown the most?
Alfalfa is California’s highest acreage crop, and California is currently the leading producer of alfalfa hay in the United States (Fig. 1.9).
Is alfalfa good for the environment?
Free fertilizer from nature! The long alfalfa stand life also gives the soil a chance to rest from frequent field crop rotations, helps provide nitrogen for subsequent crops and improves soil tilth.
Is alfalfa a good fertilizer?
Alfalfa Lawn and Garden Benefits Alfalfa Pellets act as a slow-release fertilizer that is an excellent source of nitrogen. Alfalfa also contains trace minerals and triacontanol, a naturally occurring growth promoter, which is great for roses!
What does alfalfa add to soil?
High-quality alfalfa meal is generally weed-free. It adds nitrogen and trace minerals to your soil. It also contains a natural fatty-acid growth stimulant called trianconatol. You can use it in place of other fertilizers or in conjunction with other soil amendments.
Where did alfalfa come from?
The name “alfalfa” comes from the Arabic language, meaning “best forage”. Alfalfa was carried across North Africa and southern Europe to Spain, from Spain to the West Coast of South America, and from there to California about 1850.
What is the soil requirement for alfalfa?
The soil requirements of alfalfa are exacting. Drainage must be good and high fertility levels must be maintained. A constant supply of available calcium, magnesium, potassium and boron is essential. A pH of 6.5 or above should be maintained.
How does alfalfa affect the economy?
Alfalfa forage accounts for a large portion of the value of the annual hay or forage crops in the United States. The quality of the crop greatly affects its economic value. Higher quality hay is obtained when exposure to the weather is reduced. By reducing field-drying time, weather hazards for the hay crop are minimized. The possible use of RF dielectric heating for drying was intriguing because no conductive or convective means of heat transfer is required. Heat is developed in the material very rapidly, depending on the dielectric properties of the material. For these reasons, laboratory experiments on drying chopped alfalfa forage were conducted with dielectric heating exposures at 43 MHz ( Stetson et al., 1969 ).
Which country produces the most alfalfa?
The United States and Argentina are the world’s largest alfalfa-producing countries, but significant land area is devoted to alfalfa in Australia, South and North Africa, Southern Europe, Chile, Mexico, Canada, China, and the Middle East.
How tall should alfalfa be to regrow?
As a result, alfalfa should not be grazed closely, so some leaf area remains. Plants should be allowed to regrow to at least 10 inches tall between grazings.
How much alfalfa is grown under irrigation?
Alfalfa often requires irrigation for maximum yield and therefore approximately 35% of US alfalfa is produced under irrigation. Alfalfa requires significant water annually due to its high yield and long growing season, but it is among the most water-use efficient crops grown under irrigation ( Putnam, 2012 ).
How often is alfalfa harvested?
This botanical feature enables alfalfa to be harvested multiple times per year for many years. Alfalfa is typically harvested 3–4 times per year but up to 12 times per year in the desert environments of Arizona, Mexico, and California ( Putnam et al., 2008a,b ).
Where are alfalfa pellets from?
Alfalfa pellets used to be exported from Canada, as feed for horses, to Japan. After the collapse of the export market, the feasibility of alfalfa pellets as an alternate nutrient source to prevent nutrient deficiencies in organic crops was tested in Saskatchewan, Canada. Alfalfa pellets were generally found effective in increasing crop yield …
Why is lucerne considered the Queen of Forages?
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) or lucerne is the most important forage legume worldwide and frequently called the ‘Queen of forages’ due to its wide adaptation, high yield, and high quality.
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