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  • Carmit Oron

The potential of alfalfa for providing quality forage and feed with significant yields.

Updated: Jun 11

The agricultural world has been abuzz with conversations regarding sustainability,

regenerative agriculture, and carbon credits. Climate change is considered one of the most important environmental challenges of the present century. Storing atmospheric CO2 in the soil is a key strategy for mitigating climate change.


Soil organic carbon (SOC) is crucially significant in sustaining soil quality, crop production, and environmental quality. In grassland ecosystems, more than 90% of the organic carbon is present in roots and soils. The roots and shoots of cover crops feed bacteria, fungi, earthworms, and other soil organisms, which increases soil carbon levels over time.


Forage legumes form an important source of feed for livestock and have the potential to provide a sustainable solution for food and protein security. Demand for animal protein sources such as milk and meat is ever-increasing. Because the overuse of grasslands is becoming a serious problem, achieving quality feed in sufficient quantities will be challenging. The cultivation of forage legumes is under threat from changing climatic conditions, indicating the need for breeding cultivars that can sustain and acclimatize to the negative effects of climate change. Cultivated land to forage grasses has also the potential to increase C and N sequestration.


Alfalfa is the most widely cultivated forage legume. With approximately 30 million hectares planted worldwide, Alfalfa residue improves the structure of soil: roots are

deep and they can improve soil structure and capacity for water and air. The alfalfa hay market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.89% over the forecast period to reach a market size of US$20.551 billion in 2025 from US$14.576 billion in 2019.


Alfalfa has been used as hay, silage, grazing, green-chop, or rotation crop. The forage seed industry, Moreover, global growth overall meat consumption is expected to account for 82%. The APAC region led by China and the LACs with Brazil leading the region are estimated to contribute to most of the expansion.



Alfalfa has the ability to “fix” nitrogen.


Soil carbon and nitrogen sequestration are long-term biotic processes that are affected by climate. Changes in SOC often lead to differences in soil total N, because organic forms generally account for more than 95% of the soil N.


Due to this fixation and other factors, nitrogen availability from the soil is typically enhanced when alfalfa is terminated. This contribution is often referred to as a “nitrogen credit.” For this reason, N fertilization can often be reduced or eliminated for one to three years following alfalfa termination.


Salicrop Field trials at Beit She’an Valley


The Beit Shean area is a unique agricultural area due to a combination of warm and dry climates. The soils of the Beit Shean Valley, one of the most important agricultural areas in Israel, consist of brown clay soils and calcitic soils, The soil stratification influences the potential to drain and wash excess salts that accumulate during the irrigation season, which preserves ventilated root conditions. Poor drainage conditions impede plant development, and salt accumulation in the root zone causes plant degeneration.



The soils of the Beit Shean Valley were selected for Salirop’s research since it is one of the most important agricultural areas in Israel.

In many areas, the Electrical conductivity (EC) measurement in the fields is between 3-6 EC. The irrigation water sources in the area are of variable quality: springs and Jordan River water are considered of acceptable quality (fresh), while groundwater and effluent water might be of poor quality (brackish).


Recent climate changes adversely influencing forage quality traits have become a serious concern for farmers. Salicrop’s field trials in Alfalfa are showing a significant increase in yield which has also the potential to contribute to soil carbon sequestration.


To receive our lasters results on Alfalfa field trials, contact us: carmit@salicrop.com





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