Alfalfa has become one of the world’s most useful forage crops. The plant's protein content is high and it is much more drought-tolerant than other perennial legumes.
The dry-matter protein content of alfalfa is between 18% and 20%. That is more than enough protein to spark the interest of farmers who want to reduce their exposure to fluctuating market prices for other protein sources such as soybean cakes.
Alfalfa is highly cost-effective. An alfalfa field grown for forage gives you good growth for three to five years.
Rhizobia bacteria in the root nodules supply the N for the alfalfa crop (up to 250 kg N per hectare) stored in root and plant). The benefit and the savings are long-lasting because much of the nitrogen remains in the ground. When you plant subsequent crops, you do not have to add so much nitrogen fertiliser.
Alfalfa is good for crop rotation. The deep roots improve the soil structure and the residual nitrogen in the soil feeds later crops.
A field containing alfalfa is a reliable source of during dry periods because the plant's deep roots continue to draw up moisture. The feed yield from a seed mixture containing alfalfa can be up to four times greater during dry periods than that from a mixture of pure grasses.
Alfalfa provides improved feeding structure and prolonged digestion for horses and vulnerable animals. The high intake by dairy cows providing higher feed conversion also makes alfalfa well suited for mixtures with grasses.