More drip irrigation in alfalfa’s future?

With surface water allocations likely to continue to be restricted in the near future, California's alfalfa producers are having to pump more groundwater to keep their hay stands alive.

Seth Hoyt, publisher of the Hoyt Report, wondered if more alfalfa growers should be considering moving to drip irrigation systems in light of the adoption of SDI by producers of crops that compete for acreage with alfalfa when he spoke at the Forage Seminar at World Ag Expo.

Hoyt isn't the only analyst wondering about the transformation. At least two other Forage Seminar speakers talked about the deployment of drip systems in alfalfa as a way to save water while potentially not reducing alfalfa yields.

Hoyt says water is one of several problems confrongting hay growers in 2015. Other topics include the work slowdown or stoppage because of a labor dispute at most of the ports along the West Coast and China's reluctance to import Roundup Ready alfalfa.

For more on Hoyt's thoughts about the hay markets, visit


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