Alfalfa has the highest yield potential and the highest feeding value of all perennial hay crops. Its high protein content and energy content makes it a valuable component of animal rations. Yields in excess of 8 tons of dry matter and 4 tons of total digestable nutrients per acre can be attained with this crop. No other perennial crop is equal to alfalfa as food for livestock, as a cash crop, and as an energy efficient crop where it is adapted.
Keys to high production are quality seed of high yield disease and insect resistant varieties, use recommended fertilizer and pest management programs, reduce field harvest losses, and harvest at right stages of maturity.
Alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures account for about 80 percent of all dry hay produced in Michigan. Montcalm County produced 29,100 acres of hay in 1998.