Alfalfa is one of the most important forage crops, providing high energy and protein for dairy cows as well as other types of livestock, including beef cattle, horses, goats, and sheep. California is currently the leading producer of alfalfa hay in the United States, with over one million acres grown. More than 70 percent of the state’s production comes from the Central San Joaquin Valley.
The University of California Alfalfa Workgroup authored a comprehensive, production manual - Irrigated Alfalfa Management for Mediterranean and Desert Zones. This 24-chapter publication provides detailed, scientifically-based information about the growth, production, management, and utilization of alfalfa grown under irrigation. It includes a full color diagnostic key that identifies the primary pests of alfalfa including insects, diseases, weeds, nematodes, and vertebrate pests and identifies herbicide injury, mineral deficiencies, and other stresses. The emphasis is heavily weighted towards alfalfa production in the Central San Joaquin Valley and the deserts of Southern California and several neighboring states. It is available for purchase in our office, or on the web. You can review the chapters at http://alfalfa.ucdavis.edu/IrrigatedAlfalfa/