Alfalfa Quick Facts

  • Alfalfa is California’s third largest crop. It’s also the largest water guzzler.
  • Alfalfa is an essential feed crop for the dairy and meat industries.
  • Farming alfalfa with traditional flood irrigation techniques has been the default watering method for over a century.
  • Sub-surface drip irrigation, recognized for water savings, has been adopted for other crops, but not widely used for alfalfa.
  • The change to subsurface drip irrigation requires rethinking traditional farming practices and protocols.
  • As a perennial crop, alfalfa has a deep root structure that can grow up to 10-15 feet in depth.
  • On average, alfalfa is cut and harvested every 25-30 days.
Michael Burney