Lucerne (or alfalfa) is a crop used all over the world. It is an important forage crop in countries such as the United States, Canada, Argentina and Australia. In Europe, lucerne is used from Greece, Italy and Spain in the south, to Sweden and Finland in the north. In Eastern Europe it is the major forage crop.
Lucerne is a deep rooting crop, capable of extracting sufficient water from deep soil levels in dry periods. It will therefore usually grow better than grass during summer. Livestock farmers mainly use lucerne for hay and silage production or for direct feeding to cattle. Another application is processing of artificially dehydrated lucerne.
Natural nitrogen machine
A major advantage of this crop is its ability to produce its own nitrogen in association with Rhizobium bacteria in the root nodules. As a result, fertilization with nitrogen is usually not necessary. Another advantage of lucerne is its positive effect on subsequent crops, which benefit from the nitrogen fixation and improved subsoil structure due to the deep penetration of the tap roots.
Good response animals
The good response from animals fed on lucerne is the result of a high dry matter intake, excellent protein quality and high level of effective fibre. It is easily digested so it leaves the rumen quickly, resulting in an increased intake of silage. Although the energy level of lucerne is relatively low compared with grass, the total energy intake can be very high. Subsequently, this will result in increased animal production, savings on concentrates and more benefits for the farmer.
Depending on the climate zones, Barenbrug offers various Lucerne products. Every product has its own features suitable for different conditions.