9 Environmental Benefits of Feeding Alfalfa Hay

background two equine horseshoes on wood with alfalfa leaves.

background two equine horseshoes on wood with alfalfa leaves.

Are you a responsible horse owner? If you are, you understand the value of giving your horses the best and most nutritious feed possible. Horses are strong, powerful animals that need a nutritious diet, and one of the best things to add to their diet is alfalfa hay. Alfalfa hay provides horses with essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins, so make sure you use a trusted provider like David Woods Hay. Not only is it beneficial for your horse’s health, but there are environmental benefits associated with feeding alfalfa hay as well. Read on and learn about several ways this feed benefits the environment.

1 – Source of Nitrogen

Nitrogen is a vital energy source for any type of plant, including alfalfa hay. Luckily, alfalfa hay naturally replenishes its nitrogen due to the presence of healthy bacteria. When you plant alfalfa hay in your field, it’s also beneficial to other plant life. As mentioned, all plants need nitrogen. Since alfalfa naturally replenishes the soil with this vital nutrient, your soil will remain fertile. In other words, this type of hay acts as a natural fertilizer, reducing your need to use artificial fertilizer for your crops.

2 – Reduced Fossil Fuel Use

It’s no secret that the overuse of fossil fuels simply isn’t good for the environment. Fossil fuels are not sustainable as they are not an infinite source of energy, plus they cause pollution. Growing alfalfa hay is not a labor-intensive process. One of the major factors in alfalfa hay production is pollination, not fossil fuels. Therefore, by making a switch to alfalfa hay from other feed, you can contribute to helping the environment as you’ll be growing a crop that isn’t responsible for harmful air emissions.

3 – Natural Fertilizer

What better crop to have than one that acts as a natural fertilizer? As mentioned, alfalfa contains nitrogen, fertilizing the soil and other plants. Having such natural fertilizer reduces the need for artificial fertilizers that may be harmful to the environment. It also reduces the manpower and machine energy needed to fertilize a field.

4 – Soil Regeneration

Soil should regenerate itself. When you plant alfalfa hay, you make it possible for your soil to do just that. This hay promotes the growth of good bacteria and fungi that maintain the root zone of your soil so it can constantly replenish itself. It helps soil maintain moisture and nutrients. With such regeneration, you’re less likely to see erosion or need artificial methods of soil preservation.

5 – Carbon Control

Carbon aids in soil health and plant growth. Lignin helps bind particles in the soil, allowing it to store carbon. How does this matter to the environment? Many people think that the release of carbon Dioxide only comes from cars and factory plants, but that’s not true. In addition to healthy soil, maintaining carbon reduces its release into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide. Planting or buying alfalfa hay from David Woods Hay can reduce climate change and Ozone layer damage.

6 – Natural Insect Control

Of course, insects are a part of nature, but some insects are more detrimental than others. Alfalfa hay reduces the presence of annoying pests. First of all, it attracts beneficial wildlife, such as birds that naturally feed on destructive insects and parasites like flies. Plus, when your horse isn’t bothered by annoying pests like flies, it’s a more comfortable environment for them.

It also attracts pollinators like butterflies and bees. Bees pollinate alfalfa flowers that can produce several years of hay. Any pollinating insect is good for biodiversity as it helps to create a healthy range of plants, flowers, and crops.

7 – Soil Aeration

In addition to water and nutrients, your soil must have air. Alfalfa hay has deep roots that help aerate the soil. This aeration lets any plant in the field to grow healthy and strong. Aerated soil makes it easier to absorb all nutrients and irrigation. Therefore it’s easier for ranchers and farmers to ensure healthy crops year-round.

8 – Reduce Surface Runoff

Surface runoff can be a major issue in the environment. If you live in a wet climate, alfalfa hay is the best feed to plant for your horses. It forms a protective layer over the ground that can withstand rain and wind. Not only does the surface runoff affect the soil, but it also affects water. When soil runs off, it can bring pollutants, like synthetic fertilizers, into the water supply. As a result, all types of wildlife, as well as humans, are affected. Luckily, alfalfa hay has deep roots, which reduce this runoff and protect the surrounding nature.

9 – Water Retention

Alfalfa feed isn’t just an ideal crop to plant in a wet or rainy environment; it’s also good in a hot climate. The hay is drought tolerant, meaning it helps with water retention. More water retention means less need for extra irrigation. As a result, you’ll save money and time and water itself. While water is a natural resource, it’s vital not to waste it. The less water you have to use on any crop, the better it is for the environment and your budget.
Sustainable Farming

If you’re invested in sustainable farming, alfalfa feed is the way to go. As mentioned, you’ll save water due to less irrigation. There’s also less maintenance in growing the crop itself. You don’t need additional fertilizers since alfalfa acts as a natural fertilizer for itself and surrounding crops. When you don’t have to use synthetic fertilizers, you reduce the likelihood of pollution on crops that people or animals eat. You’ll also help healthy wildlife by promoting beneficial insects and animals in your field.

In conclusion, alfalfa hay is an ideal feed for many reasons. Not only will it keep your horses strong and healthy, but it’s also just as beneficial for the environment itself. Give your horses the care they deserve by giving them the cleanest, healthiest, most environmentally friendly feed available. When purchasing alfalfa feed, use a reputable source such as David Woods Hay, as they’ve been in the business for decades.