A new cost study tool has been released looking at the costs and returns of organic alfalfa production in California. With about 900 million pounds of organic milk produced in 2019, organic alfalfa hay is a critical source of forage for California dairy farms. The study looks at the economics of using flood irrigation in the production of organic alfalfa in the Sacramento Valley, north and south San Joaquin Valley, and the Intermountain Region.
Estimates were based on 100 acres of rented land at $345 dollars per acre annually. The alfalfa stand life is four years after the establishment year. Farm advisors, specialists, and growers provided input for the study, which details production, material inputs, cash and non-cash overhead. The study includes a ranging analysis table that highlights profits over a range of prices and yields. The Sample Costs to Establish and Produce Organic Alfalfa Hay is available for free online. Information for the study was compiled by UC Cooperative Extension, the UC Agricultural Issues Center and the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
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