Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)

About Alfalfa

  • Alfalfa is a perennial forage crop grown across the U.S.
  • Alfalfa can be cut (harvested) multiple times in one year. Often, the cuttings are baled (similar to hay bales) and stored for later.
  • Sometimes alfalfa fields are grazed (eaten by animals as it grows in the field) or made into silage (a fermentation process).
  • Alfalfa improves soil nutrients and structure for future crops.

Fast Facts

  • Once planted, alfalfa can produce in the same field for several years.
  • Alfalfa is considered one of the best forage crops to feed to dairy cows.
  • Alfalfa fields provide habitat to a variety of birds, insects, and other wildlife.


  • Forages for animal consumption
  • Animal grazing
  • Silage
  • Human supplements