Alfalfa: ‘The Queen of Forages’
John Hart | August 27, 2018 | Southeast FarmPress
When he talks to farmers about growing alfalfa, Dennis Hancock says he will either talk them into it or talk them out of it. It’s a challenging crop to grow, but it does offer its rewards.
“Like everything in life, if you put more into it you get more out of it,” says Hancock, professor and state Extension forage specialist with the University of Georgia. “If you have a really good management aspect of alfalfa, you can produce some straight up rocket fuel.”
Hancock made a trip up to North Carolina to speak at an Extension Alfalfa-Bermudagrass-Hayfield Conference at the Harnett Commons Area in Lillington, N.C. North Carolina State University sees great potential for alfalfa in the state and is conducting research on the crop.
In North Carolina, Extension agents in Johnston, Harnett, Wake, and Sampson counties have planted demonstration plots to see if alfalfa can be grown inter-seeded with bermudagrass. In addition, Harnett County Extension Agent Brian Parrish notes that three farmers in the county are growing alfalfa commercially.
“Two of the growers target the (high quality) horse hay market. They sell small square bales as a valuable cash crop,” Parrish explains in a blog posting. “The third grower is baling the alfalfa as haylage to use as a protein supplement for his cattle herd during the winter.”