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Alfalfa

 

Agrimony
Alfalfa
American Ginseng
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Alfalfa also known as Lucerne. Regardless of the common name.The crop is a herbaceous perennial that can produce large amounts of nutritious forage material. The energy and protein yield/acre by alfalfa rivals that of a corn crop used for silage purposes. It is considered the "Queen" or "Cadillac" of forages.The alfalfa crop can be used as a pasture, hay, or silage crop. It can also be cut and dehydrated to make protein rich meal or pellets for livestock.In the Middle East, alfalfa is known as the “father of all herbs.”

Alfalfa is one of the most nutritious plants on earth and its leaves are rich in calcium, Alfalfa has been used by the Chinese since the sixth century to treat kidney stones, and to relieve fluid retention and swelling. It is a perennial herb that grows throughout the world in a variety of climates. Alfalfa grows to about 3 feet and has blue- violet flowers that bloom from July to September. Most alfalfa seedings initially have 15 or more plants per square foot. As the stand ages, some plants die and remaining plants spread to occupy the space. This versatile herb is also a folk remedy for arthritis, diabetes, asthma, hay fever, and is reputed to be an excellent appetite stimulant and overall tonic. Excellent source of nutritive properties with minerals, chlorophyll and vitamins. Alfalfa is high in chlorophyll and nutrients.

Alfalfa is and has always been important for grazing.If alfalfa is grazed, an intensive rotational grazing program has been shown to be most productive, while insuring alfalfa survival. Allowing livestock to graze for 3 days, then giving alfalfa 30 days for recovery, works well. Using this approach to graze alfalfa obviously involves partitioning the pasture area into smaller areas. Thus, fencing can be an added cost of using alfalfa in this manner. Intensive grazing is not much different than harvesting alfalfa for hay, where forage is cut, baled , and hauled away. Hay harvest can occur every 30 to 35 days during the growing season if weather permits normal rates of regrowth.

Alfalfa is also important for making hay. Alfalfa, like most plants, is vulnerable to be attacked by insects. One insect problem is the alfalfa weevil, which is a leaf feeding pest.Alfalfa hay is used primarily as animal feed for dairy cows but also for horses, beef cattle, sheep, chickens, turkeys and other farm animals. The traditional uses of alfalfa as an animal feed, alfalfa is beginning to be used as a bio-fuel for the production of electricity, bioremediation of soils with high levels of nitrogen, and as a factory for the production of industrial enzymes such as lignin peroxidase, alpha-amylase, cellulase, and phytase.