University of California Alfalfa & Forages
Alfalfa Leaf Image California Alfalfa Workgroup Homepage Alfalfa Leaf Image
Image Splash

Alfalfa/Forages Field Day

Please join us for an alfalfa and forage crop field day to be held at Kearney Ag. Center in Parlier, CA. Subjects: alfalfa varieties, drip irrigation in alfalfa, remote sensing, weed and weevil management, sorghum, irrigation, salinity, low lignin alfalfa.

> Event Details <

Small Grains - Alfalfa/Forages Field Day

The 2017 Western Alfalfa & Forage Symposium will be held this year in Reno, Nevada 28-29-30 November. The theme this year will be “Producing Quality Forages in the West”. The program features a full day ALFALFA HAY QUALITY WORKSHOP which addresses the many issues associated with quality (sampling, measurement, how to produce quality). The MAIN PROGRAM features many subjects including economics, markets, irrigation, pest management and new genetics.

Hope to see you there!

Additional information

Small Grains - Alfalfa/Forages Field Day

> View All Field Day Presentations<

Innovations In Sustainable Irrigation

Netafim, the Milken Innovation Center at the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies and UC Davis invite you to join us as we present a program filled with guest speakers who will discuss innovations, strategies and actions being taken to support California’s water conservation efforts through sustainable irrigation. The program will be moderated by Netafim’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Naty Barak. Lunch will be served at the conclusion of the program.

View Presentations

Nitrogen fertilization is a critical component of maximizing yield for grass hay production. However, the steady increase in fertilizer price along with concerns for off-site N movement make prudent use of N important. On-farm studies in northeastern California were conducted in irrigated orchardgrass to examine the influence N fertilizer rates and application times have on forage yield, forage quality, soil nitrate, and economics for retail hay. N rates up to 400 lb/acre increased annual yield and net return in a three-cut system. N fertilizer also increased crude protein.

Applying fertilizer in split applications gave higher yield, crude protein, and economic return for second and third cut compared to a single fertilizer application at grass green-up. Apparent N recovery decreased with increasing fertilizer rate and ranged from 80 to 38%. N fertilizer did not influence forage neutral detergent fiber.

At the highest N fertilizer rates, forage NO3-N at first and second-cut was above 1500 ppm. Fertilizing with N at 600 lb/acre/season elevated fall soil NO3-N at the 24 to 36-inch soil depth compared to the control at multiple sites. Split applications of N fertilizer are imperative to maximize yield, crude protein, and economic return, but excessive N fertilization can increase the likelihood of high forage nitrate and nitrate accumulation below the root zone.

Download & Read Full Publication

Given the tremendous economic challenges these days, the theme was ‘Aiming Towards Profitability’. Approximately 575 attended.

A special full day PEST MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP was ranked as ‘fantastic’ by attendees, and videos are available on-line for those interested in honing their skills in insect, weed, rodent, and disease management.

The ‘ Aiming Towards Profitability’ MAIN SESSION featured economic trends, analysis of world prices, irrigation management, subsurface drip, P&K fertility, Analysis and definition of forage quality, and the new trait in alfalfa: low-lignin.

This program, now in its 45th season, is organized annually by the University of California Cooperative Extension, and sponsored by the industry group California Alfalfa & Forage Association. Full videos, powerpoints, and Proceedings are available on-line at

for a link to the CAFA registration page, click here

Irrigated Alfalfa Cover Image
A comprehensive 24-chapter publication designed to provide detailed, scientifically-based information about the growth, production, management, and utilization of alfalfa grown under irrigation. Lots of pest management information, forage quality, and variety information. Chapters can be downloaded, but it’s better to buy the whole publication.

Irrigated Alfalfa Cover Image

The Alfalfa & Small Grains Field Day was held on Wednesday, 11 May, 2016 at the Plant Sciences Research Farm, Hutchison Road, UC Davis, California. Below is a link to learn about recent research, variety adaptation, water management, N management in these important crops.

It’s important for growers who are producing for sensitive markets (those that reject GMO alfalfa) such as export or organic to produce non-GE alfalfa Hay. See PAPER on production of non-GE alfalfa – soon to be published in Crop, Forage and Turfgrass Management. Also, see PAPER on Sampling methods for low level presence.


Netafim is hosting a field day on Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI) concepts, components and management requirements.  Get a review of agronomic and cultural management practices for SDI alfalfa, and learn about rodent management planning to protect your SDI investment. Meet a successful SDI alfalfa grower and learn first-hand how he's increased bottom-line profits.


River Garden Farms is located on the corner of Highway 45 and County Line Road in Knights Landing. RSVP is appreciated for the lunch count.

Call or email Vince Smith at Netafim USA (559) 240-0834 or

A newly published article reviews the differences between species and varieties of cool-season grasses grown under deficit irrigation. Twenty-five perennial grass species/ cultivars were evaluated under three irrigation regimes (fullseason irrigation, early cutoff, and mid-season cutoff ) over 3 year period at the Intermountain Research and Extension Center in the Klamath Basin, Tulelake, CA.

Forage grasses included: 10 tall fescue cultivars, seven orchardgrass cultivars, four bromegrass species (Bromus spp), three wheatgrass species, and festulolium.  These species differed in response to water deficits.

Which species appeared to be better under full and deficit irrigation regimes? 

Long Beach, CA
This symposium has been sponsored by the University of California since 1971. We have all of the proceedings and many of the Powerpoints (and more recently, videos) of this conference on-line. Please click on the year of interest:

Search Proceedings

All Symposia Proceedings (1971-2014) are archived with a search engine, which can be obtained on the Search Proceedings page. Put in any subject or author to obtain articles on many subjects. This is a great source of Western alfalfa information.

Field Day

Field Day Archive

The Alfalfa & Forage Systems Workgroup periodically holds field days to discuss on-going research. We have archived some of the handouts from these field days. Please see below to view selected handouts, presentations, and information from our 2014-2015 Field Days:
  • Alfalfa/Field Crops Field Day in El Centro, 2015 was held on April 16, 2015 at the UC Desert Research and Extension Center in Holtville, CA in the Imperial Valley. Water and Pest Management were the focus of a field day. Topics of discussion included water issues with alfalfa and forages, as well as other agronomic crops.

  • UC Davis Alfalfa/Forages Field Day, 2015 was held at UC Davis on May 12, 2015. At this field day Farmers, PCAs, and CCAs toured research plots to discuss critical issues related to water and pest management. Visit the UCD Alfalfa/Forage Field Day page.

  • Kearney Alfalfa and Forage Field Day, 2015 was held at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, on September 18, 2015 from 7:30 am - 1:00 pm. The alfalfa and forage field day at Kearney Agricultural Center featured a field tour and presentations on topics such as irrigation management, variety selection, and pest control. Visit the Kearney Field Day page.

  • Forage and Grain Sorghum Field Day & Workshop, 2015 was held at the University of California Desert Research and Extension Center in Holtville, CA, on September 30, 2015. Offered at this field day was a field demonstration and workshops focused on Forage and Sorghum.

  • El Centro Field Day, 2014: An alfalfa and field crops field day was held in El Centro, Imperial County on 17th April. Alfalfa drip irrigation, varieties, wheat, oilseed crops, and sorghum was featured. See PDF of the handouts here.

  • Davis Field Day, 2014: An alfalfa and grains field day was held on the UC Davis Campus on May 7th, 2014. It featured new research on measuring water use in alfalfa, drought response, weeds, aphids, pest management, low lignin trait in alfalfa. See schedule here.

  • Kearney Field Day, 2014: The alfalfa and forage field day at Kearney was held on September 12th. It featured a field tour and presentations on topics such as irrigation management, variety selection, and pest control. Visit the Kearney Field day page for links to handouts and presentations/slide sets.

Producing Alfalfa
Producing Image
Learn to produce alfalfa from General Information to Seed Production.
Variety Selection
Variety Image
Consult data tables from variety trials by location to help pick an alfalfa variety.
Symposium Image
Keep up on the latest symposium.
People Image
Find and learn about people involved with the California Alfalfa Workgroup.