|Pretty flowers - and they smell good, too!|
|The alfalfa is swathed and put into windrows to dry|
in the sun before baling
Humans also eat alfalfa, in the form of sprouts, or dehydrated in teas, powders and tablets. Alfalfa sprouts do contain multiple vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber (www.nlm.nih.gov). In China, it has been used as a medicinal herb for over 1,500 years to treat disorders of the digestive system and kidneys (http://en.wikipedia.org).
It is also an ancient crop, with a chapter dedicated to it in a Roman book on agriculture, published in the 4th century AD (http://en.wikipedia.org). Alfalfa was first brought to this continent by Spanish explorers during the 16th century. It was first produced in the United States in Georgia in 1763, but did not really take off as an important crop until it was begun to be grown in the more favorable climate of California (http://www.agweb.com).
Alfalfa is a big export crop for the United States. Over 21 million acres of alfalfa are in production in the US, producing approximately 84 million tons of alfalfa. Japan is by far the largest importer of alfalfa, buying 75% of all exported US alfalfa hay. Other US alfalfa importing countries include Saudi Arabia, China, the United Arab Emirates. The majority of hay grown for export is grown right in Idaho, Washington, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah, with the most (25%) coming from the Columbia River Basin of Oregon and Washington (http://www.agweb.com)
|Silage tube. Now you know.|
|Young, dumb bee|
So there you have it, folks. Alfalfa! For more information, and believe me, there is lots more, see the following links: