$40.50 – $330.00
Alfalfa is a tap-rooted, multi-cut, perennial forage legume. It is very productive, drought tolerant, widely adapted, and is the second most commonly planted forage legume in the world. We carry a wide range of organic and non-GMO alfalfa grain seed varieties to fit most farming situations and budgets, available by the bag or in bulk.
Good to excellent depending on variety and fertilization (Potash is essential for increasing winterhardiness and stand survival)
Excellent (for established stands)
Wet soil tolerance:
Select varieties with Phytophthora & Aphanomyces resistance
Average Nitrogen Fixation:
100 – 150 lbs N /acre
Forage Yield Range:
3 – 8 DM ton / A (average 2- to 4-cut system)
Relative Forage Quality:
147 – 186 (index value)
Seeds per lb:
200,000 to 220,000
Seeding Rate Alone:
15-20 lbs /acre
Seeding Rate in Mixtures:
15 lbs / acre when mixed with grass
Range of Seeding Dates:
Spring or late summer (April – Mid-May and Aug. 5 – 25th in Southern MN)
Methods of seeding:
Broadcast and drag – Drill ; Rolling or cultipacking helps. Often seeded with a small grain cover crop when planted in the spring. Later summer seedings should be direct seeded to minimize competition.
Best seeding depth:
½ to ¾ Inch
Best Soil types:
Well-drained light soils (loam to sandy loam in texture)
6.5 to 7.0
Organic agriculture has been one of the fastest growing segments of the agriculture industry for a number of years. The purpose of this brochure is to provide basic answers to questions you may have about organic farming practices and to provide resources where you can find additional information. Most of this information was obtained from the Minnesota Guide to Organic Certification by the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA), but it also applies to organic agriculture in other states.
What is organic agriculture?
The USDA – National Organic Program (NOP) defines organic agriculture as “a production system that is managed to respond to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.” The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture says, organic agriculture “generally refers to a farm production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity to promote healthy crops without the use of synthetic chemicals (meaning synthetic pesticides – herbicides, insecticides, etc. – and synthetic fertilizers).” In short, organic agriculture is a system of farm and processing practices, not simply the resulting plant and animal products.
Why change to organic agriculture?
Organic production is not for everyone, but there are many reasons to consider changing to organic production. They include: premium prices for organic products, improved soil and water quality associated with diversified cropping systems, reduced use of synthetic chemical inputs, reduced handling of potentially hazardous agricultural chemicals, and potential increased profits through reduced use of off-farm (purchased) inputs.
What do you have to do to become organic?
Producers and processors who sell over $5,000 per year of organic products must be certified by an accredited certification agency in order to sell their products as “organic.” Certification is a process of review and approval of a production system by an organic certification agency, after which a producer is able to call his or her product “organic” or “certified organic.” There is a transitional period of three years during which no forbidden chemicals or fertilizers can be applied. Genetically modified organisms are also prohibited along with numerous other products. A certification agency can provide a complete list of prohibited materials.
How do you find a certification agency?
Producers and handlers may contract with any USDA-accredited certifier, no matter where its office is located.
Cost of certification varies between agencies and with the size of your operation so be sure to shop around to find the best certifier for your circumstances.
Where can I find more help or support?
A good place to start is your local county extension office. They should be able to answer many of your questions or point you toward someone who can. Additionally, listed below are several government agencies, universities, and private groups and that have websites where you can find current information.
University Information Websites:
Iowa State University – Organic Agriculture Program:
ISU operates an Organic Agriculture Program to provide research information and extension presentations for Iowa citizens. Field Days, workshops and classes on organics are held throughout the year.
Dr. Kathleen Delate, Associate Professor
Dept. of Horticulture & Agronomy
106 Horticulture Hall
Ames, Iowa 50011-1100
Telephone: (515) 294-7069
Fax: (515) 294-0730
University of Minnesota – Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA):
U of MN Southwest Research and Outreach Center (SWROC):
Michigan State University Organic Farm Exchange:
State and Federal Government Information Websites:
USDA National Organic Program (NOP)
USDA Organic Production
USDA Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC)
Iowa Department of Agriculture
Organic Farming Resources for Wisconsin
North Dakota Organic Farming
Certifying Agencies (inclusion on this list does not imply an endorsement by Albert Lea Seed):
Minnesota Crop Improvement Association
Midwest Organic Services Association, Inc. (MOSA)
Organic Crop Improvement Association – MN Chapter (OCIA) www.mnocia.org
Other Useful Information:
University of Minnesota – Organic Ecology
Minnesota Organic Network
The Minnesota Organic Farmers’ Information Exchange (MOFIE) http://mofie.cfans.umn.edu/
Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) http://www.mosesorganic.org/
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA) http://attra.ncat.org/
Organic Trade Association (OTA)
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
The Rodale Institute
How To Go Organic
The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)
Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society
Practical Farmers of Iowa