Alfalfa producers should continually evaluate their irrigation practices to ensure they are using the most efficient water management method possible. According to University of California – Davis researchers, “irrigation system design for maximum uniformity and efficiency” is one of the most important management factors for alfalfa producers.
But are today’s producers using the irrigation systems most suited to their crop management operations? There are several advantages to using center pivots or linears instead of flood irrigation, and those advantages impact both the quality and quantity of the crop. Alfalfa grown under center pivots or linears does not need the border ditches that are required for flood irrigation, which saves on labor needed for field preparation and allows the entire field to be harvested by the swather. One California grower also reported less dew with his center pivot, which means less excess moisture and earlier baling at more desirable crop moisture levels.