Can I grow my own alfalfa hay?

Can I grow my own alfalfa hay?

Whether you need it for livestock or other uses, growing hay at home is a cheap and easy alternative to purchasing it in bulk. Depending on your preferences, you can use grass, alfalfa, or a mixture of both to make hay. Once you’ve grown your crop, all you have to do is cut, dry, and store your hay for use as needed.

How do you grow alfalfa hay at home?


  1. By seeds: Alfalfa can propagated by planting alfalfa seeds in well-prepared soil. A well-drained and firm seedbed allows seeds to retain moisture and prevents new roots from drying out.
  2. By Stem cuttings: Alfalfa can be easily propagated through semi-rigid stem-cuttings, about 6 inches tall.

What does alfalfa hay need to grow?

Alfalfa does well on well-drained soil rather than wet, heavy clay soils and requires good soil pH ranging from 6.5 to 7.0. If your soil pH is lower than 6.5, symbiotic nitrogen fixation may not function properly. Thus, liming will be required to raise low soil pH to its optimum level and make better nutrient uptake.

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Does alfalfa come back every year?

Alfalfa is a cool-season perennial commonly grown for feeding livestock or as a cover crop and soil conditioner. It’s ideal for improving the soil and providing erosion control. Alfalfa’s extensive root system nourishes both plants and soil.

What month do you plant alfalfa?

If you have land available for alfalfa in late summer, optimal seeding dates are July 15 through August in the Upper Midwest; closer to July 15 for northernmost regions. For growers in warmer climates, seeding into early September is acceptable.

Can you plant alfalfa with a grain drill?

Grain drills, equipped with small-seed attachments, can accurately meter alfalfa seed. However, it is difficult to place the seed at the proper depth. When using a grain drill, it is a common practice to disconnect the drop tubes from the shanks to allow the seeds to fall onto the soil surface.

Can horses eat alfalfa pasture?

Alfalfa can be grazed as a single-species or mixed with grass. Red or white clover doesn’t regrow well when grazed by horses, so it’s best to mix with grass. Alfalfa and red clover can be appropriate pasture species for horses diagnosed with metabolic disorders.

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What is the best mix for horse hay?

The best hay mix for most horses, without any health problems, is one-half Alfalfa and one-half Timothy. But each horse is different, so it’s best to adjust the portions based on their needs. Horses often need more protein than they get from grass hay. So you can add grain or legumes to give them more.

How many pounds to the acre Do you seed alfalfa?

Seeding rates should be between 12 and 15 pounds per acre. Prescribed seeding rates are designed to provide several times the seed needed to achieve optimal yield under ideal growing conditions.

What happens if you don’t cut alfalfa?

If it stays dry those new shoots could die off. Once your alfalfa does receive enough rain for regrowth it might regrow a little faster if it’s cut, but it also will regrow following sufficient rain without cutting. In most cases, it’s not worth the cost and time involved to shred, clip, or harvest low-yielding hay.

Can You rake alfalfa hay for horses?

For horse hay, it’s best to use the old sickle bar mowers or swathers. Raking is also crucial (whether raking it into a windrow or two windrows together with a ground-driven rake).” When harvested and processed correctly, baled alfalfa is a high-quality source of protein and calcium for horses.

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How much hay should I Feed my horse?

“Many horse owners buy bales of alfalfa and bales of grass hay and feed several flakes of grass hay and one flake of alfalfa” as needed, says Krista Lea, MS, forage extension specialist and research analyst at UK. This can offer some cost savings if you also have horses that do fine on the less-nutrient-dense hay.

What kind of hay do you feed a horse with insulin resistance?

For instance, a horse that’s overweight and insulin resistant needs a lower-sugar hay (the alfalfa), says Martinson, but not the additional calories, “So we often end up doing a mix where those horses receive some legume and search for a low-sugar grass hay to mix with it.”

Is alfalfa good for horses with stomach ulcers?

Alfalfa is also suitable for horses prone to gastric ulcers, because the extra calcium acts as a buffer against stomach acid. You might offer performance horses alfalfa an hour or two before work or competition, during which acid can splash up into the nonglandular part of the stomach (where the cells of the lining do not produce protective mucus).