Bringing Up the Alfalfa (grown for seed)
One of the crops I have grown for many, many years is alfalfa seed. It is grown under contract for different companies that package the seed and sell it to dairies and alfalfa farmers to plant and make hay crops. Basically, I grow the alfalfa and instead of cutting it and making it into hay bales, I let the blooms turn to seed and then harvest it with a combine into bins and ship it off to the buyer.
One of the most difficult aspects of growing alfalfa for seed is the initial stand establishment. Alfalfa is a very small seed and grows slowly in comparison to weeds. It cannot be planted very deep (1.5 inches maximum) so the moisture that the seed is planted into can dry up very fast and the seedling will wither and dry. We have planted and the seed has germinated and now we are irrigating to provide moisture so the seedlings will thrive. You can see the the marks left by the planter where the seeds are sowed and the moisture is “subbing” towards the middle of the beds. Stay tuned to see the alfalfa grow through the season!
Oh… and notice the white stuff? This was a pima cotton field last year and some of the crop residue is still evident.