Decades ago, alfalfa was a dominant perennial legume species used in the southern United States, but harsh environmental conditions and pest pressures soon decreased acreage.
Thanks to improved varieties and management practices associated with increases in educational efforts and plantings, alfalfa is making a comeback. To help South Carolina farmers, as well as farmers across the southeastern United States, learn about growing this legume, the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is holding an Alfalfa in the South Field Day, beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday, May 5 at Foxpipe Farm, 673 Easy Road, Laurens, SC 29360.
The field day is coordinated by Liliane Severino da Silva, Clemson Extension forages specialist housed at the Edisto Research and Education Center in Blackville, South Carolina.
“We have great speakers from universities across the South who will be joining Clemson Extension livestock and forages specialists and agents to provide information for this regional event,” Silva said.
Topics to be covered include alfalfa and alfalfa bermudagrass systems, novel fescue and fescue conversion, cover crop forage systems and sericea lespedeza systems. In addition to Clemson specialists, other experts scheduled to speak are Jennifer Tucker from the University of Georgia, Kim Mullenix and Leanne Dillard from Auburn University, and Chris Prevatt from the University of Florida.
Lunch will be served. Cost is $30. Go to https://bit.ly/Alfalfa_InThe_South for tickets.
Alfalfa is the fourth most widely grown crop in the United States. Information from the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service shows alfalfa grown across the United States has an estimated annual value of $11.7 billion.
Alfalfa hay is used as a feed primarily for dairy cows but also for horses, beef cattle, sheep and other farm animals. It also can be used for grazing and when grown in mixture with grasses extends the forage distribution and provides nitrogen.
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