Alfalfa is a perennial forage crop, highly rated for its forage quality and palatability, high yield, and wide adaptation. Being a legume, alfalfa fixes its own nitrogen, greatly reducing fertilizer input. Its deep taproot system allows it to access deep soil moisture, making the crop very tolerant to drought spells. Once rotated out, an alfalfa crop leaves a perfect soil structure and nutrient supply for the following crop.
Alfalfa can be cut up to ten times per year, depending on the climatic conditions (length of growing season) and selected variety. It is grown as a monoculture or combined with grass. Monocultures are mostly cut for hay or haylage, while alfalfa/grass stands are preferred in many areas and also when grazing is applied. Stands can remain productive for ten years or more, although the yield will drop off. Often grass is interseeded after a few years to compensate the stand and yield loss.