How to grow alfalfa. Page: 3
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How to Grow Alfalfa.
of France. From this by easy transitions the name "lucern" or
'lucerne" has been derived. It is supposed by some authors that
the name came from Lucerne, one. of the Swiss Cantons, but this
supposition is incorrect.
Historical accounts indicate that alfalfa was first cultivated in
Persia and that the Persians took it with them when they invaded
Greece about 490 B. C.. to provide forage for the horses and cattle
of their armies. It was apparently introduced in Italy during the
first century and into Spain during the Moorish invasion in the
eighth century. The Spaniards took alfalfa to South America and
Mexico in the sixteenth century, and doubtless to California and the
Southwest during their first expeditions. However, it was not until
about 1850, when alfalfa was taken to San Francisco from Chile, that
its rapid extension under irrigation commenced in the West.
The history of alfalfa growing in the Eastern States runs back
for nearly two centuries. The colonists made repeated efforts to
establish the plant as a forage crop, the first recorded attempts being
made in Georgia in 1736, but as its soil and cultural requirements
were not well understood the early efforts resulted in failure. As
a result of the success. which followed the introduction of alfalfa
into the Western States attention was again directed to growing the
crop in the East in the latter part of the nineteenth century, and from
that time its acreage in the Eastern States has shown a slow but
Alfalfa is one of the most important forage crops in the United
States, exceeding in acreage any of the other perennial crops grown
for this purpose with the exception of timothy alone or mixed with
red clover. Its culture has extended very rapidly since it was first
grown successfully in the West, and the acreage devoted to it has practically
doubled every 10 years since the census report for 1899, when
there were 2,094,011 acres in the United States. In 1909 there were
4,707,146 acres and in 1919 8,624,811 acres. By far the greater part
of the alfalfa acreage is west of the Mississippi River, although the
proportion east of it has increased steadily for several years. In
1899 this amounted to 1.1 per cent of the total; in 1909, 3.9 per cent;
and in 1919, 8.45 per cent. In 1919 the leading States in alfalfa
acreage were as follows: Kansas, 1,315,507 acres; Nebraska, 1,214,649
acres; Colorado, 781,663 acres; California, 718,515 acres; and Idaho,
651,172 acres. The total production for the same year was 18,853,133
tons of hay, the average acre yield for the whole United States being
2.2 tons. This varied for the different States from less than 1 tons
to slightly more than 3 tons per acre. In general, the highest aver
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Oakley, R. A. (Russell Arthur) & Westover, H. L. (Harvey Leroy). How to grow alfalfa., book, December 1922; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6202/m1/5/: accessed March 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.