How Much Does It Cost to Plant Alfalfa Per Acre?

If you are new to alfalfa production, then do not worry about allocating a budget. Alfalfa production is on the costly side.

But knowing how much does it cost to plant alfalfa per acre helps you to make a proper budget and invest likewise.

As much as it costs to cultivate alfalfa the market price of the product is also high. Therefore if you make a plan and use money properly then you can have a good product and sell them with a profit.

In this post, all the costs are divided categorically and altogether. We tried to show you the best possible cost per acre.

Items Minimum Cost Per Acre (USD)
Preparation Of The Land 395
Fertilizing 900
Irrigation  280
Seed Plantation 200
Regular Tissue Sampling 750
Pesticide And Fungicide 100
Harvesting  300
Miscellaneous  500 
Total 3425

8 Types of Cost in Alfalfa Cultivation (Explained)

Cost 1: Preparation of the Land

The preparation of land is a very vital part of cultivating alfalfa. The cost of land preparation can be divided into four steps. This will help you to locate your budget in the right place at the right time. 

Step 1: Cleaning the Weed

In case agricultural land that you are planning to cultivate alfalfa, it hasn’t been used in a long time, like more than a year, then it needs weeding before any further procedure. 

The weeding procedure won’t be easy to do by yourself unless you have the experience and have tools to do it. The expert help will cost you from 200 USD to 300 USD depending on where you live. 

But if you have experience in the field and want to supervise the weeding process by yourself with labor, the cost will be reduced between 150 USD to 200 USD. 

Step 2: Chiseling the Land

Once you are done with the cleaning process of the field it’s time to mix up the soil. Mostly the soil that stays in the lower level of the agricultural lands stays more fertile than the oxidized soil on the upper level. 

Process of mixing The files themselves is known as chiseling. The process is done with the help of a machine so the cost is not as much as weeding. It will only cost you 19 to 20 USD per acre. 

If you have a tractor then you can spend 1500 USD dollars and get a chisel plough. Many Chinese brands come within this price level. 

Step 3: Using Rice Roller and Laser Leveling

After chiseling comes the rice roller and laser leveling. Laser leavening is giving the field proper labeling for alfalfa.

Unless you are doing it by yourself and you are an expert in it, you do need expert help. Companies who will come with their instrument and do it for you. 

The Rice roller will cost only 6 USD to 7 USD. On the other hand, laser leveling is between 175 USD to 250 USD. 

Step 4: Harrowing

Harrowing is making the bed for sowing seeds. It is a very important part. With this procedure, the soil becomes soft enough to sow seeds.

With this, during the germination process, the seedlings get proper water and nutrients. Also, the seedlings can come out easily. The whole harrowing process will cost only 45 USD to 50 USD. 

Total Cost Of Land Preparation- 395 USD to 627 USD. 

Cost 2: Fertilizing Cost


When it comes to fertilizer alfalfa needs nitrogen 11-52-0. The best way to ensure nitrogen is to apply Ammonium Phosphate.

You will need about 200 lbs per acre. 10 lbs come at a price of 45 USD. Which adds that you will need to invest 900 USD Ammonium Phosphate for 1 acre.

Alfalfa also needs 30 to 40 lbs phosphate, 150 to 160 lbs Potash and 15 to 20 lbs sulfate-sulfur. All these measurements are for 1 acre of land. All these will cost around 950 USD. 

Labor Cost:

There are several companies that will apply fertilizers to your alfalfa cultivation land. They will charge you from 7 USD to 8 USD per dollar.

This is actually a very easy job if you don’t have more than one or two acres to fertilize then you can do it yourself. 

Total Cost Of Fertilization- 900 USD TO 1050 USD. 

Cost 3: Irrigation and Drainage System


To irrigate alfalfa cultivation you will need to use a sprinkler. If you already have a sprinkler installed in your agricultural form from previous cultivation then you do not need to invest any money in it. 

If you need a new one then it will cost about 74 USD to 80 USD depending on the quality. Also, all together with the installation cost, it might sum up to 100 USD. 

Along with the sprinkling water you also need to have a running irrigation system. This is especially needed if you are cultivating in warm weather and drought is a common problem.

Running an irrigation system costs about 60 USD per acre.  

Drainage System:

As much as you need water for proper cultivation you also need to have a drainage system to tackle flooding water. To install a proper drainage system per acre you will need to invest around 50 USD only. 

The cost of installing a drainage system depends on the available facilities around your cultivated land. We can just advise an approximation but it is wise to take advice from an experienced farmer in your area.

Total Cost Of Irrigation And Drainage System- 280 USD to 290 USD. 

Cost 4: Seed Plantation

Seed Price:

The price of alfalfa seeds doesn’t vary much depending on brands. Depending on the quality of the seeds you will get each pound within 5 USD to 6 USD.

Each acre of land needs about 25 lbs. To sum up, the cost per acre will be125 USD to 150 USD.

If you’re buying the seeds in bulk orders then the cost of guests reduces a lot. On wholesales, you will only need 100 USD to 120 USD per acre.

On the other hand, for authenticity, if you want to export it from Europe the cost can rise above 160 USD due to shipping costs and taxes. 

Technology Cost:

For planting the seeds of alfalfa you will need to take help from technologies. There are several companies that use different machines to help you with spreading the seeds. 

Here you will only need to spend 3 USD to 4 USD for each pound of seeds. Which means you will be investing around 75 USD per acre of land. 

If you want to use human labor then the cost will increase. This cost is quite unsettling as it varies from state to state. 

Total Cost Of Seed Plantation- 200 USD to 250 USD. 

Cost 5: Regular Tissue Sampling

The best way to detect any nutrient deficiency in alfalfa is tissue sampling. When you cultivate products like alfalfa it becomes a necessity.

Usually, it is very difficult to diagnose any nutrient deficiency specifically in crop cultivation. 

This is where the sampling of tissue comes in. You will have to collect tissue with the help of experts and take them to the labs.

In the labs, the tissues will be analyzed and they will give you a report of the required nutrients and the deficits.

The whole process, from collecting tissue to analyzing them will cost 30 USD to 35 USD per sample. You will need about 25 to 30 sampling in each season. Which means it will cost you around 750 USD to 1050 USD.

Doing regular tissue sampling is the best way to avoid any unwanted health disasters in your alfalfa cultivation. This plays a vital role in profit maximization. 

Total Cost Of Tissue Sampling- 750 USD to 1020 USD

Cost 6: Using Pesticides and Fungicides

Almost all kinds of Crop cultivation get affected by pests and fungus. The open gets affected by aphids, blister beetles, and Japanese beetles.

To deal with these pests you might need to allocate around 100 USD to 500 USD per acre. 

Bacterial wilt and Fusarium wilt are the two most common diseases in alfalfa production. To deal with this you might need to recognize the disease and then apply a solution to them.

Depending on the severity of the problem you might need to allocate around 100 USD to 2000 USD on fungicides.

There are some homemade remedies that can even save hundreds of dollars from your pocket.

Total Cost Of Pesticides And Fungicides- 100 USD to 2500 USD.  

Cost 7: Harvesting Alfalfa

Harvesting alfalfa includes 2 steps: raking and baling. If you divide the cost then it gets easier to analyze the money distribution. 

Step 1: Raking

Racking means you will be cutting the crop and putting them in a sequential manner. If the racking is not done properly, then it will be difficult to bail them out and proceed further. 

There are several machines available that you can own for raking if you do cultivation at a business level.

Otherwise, you can Haier private tracking services. The cost of these services starts from 25 USD and can go up to 50 USD per acre.

Step 2: Baling

Once the racking is done you will need to use a baler to organize the crop and its residues.

The bailling system includes organizing them and carrying the bills to a definite place. Along with all the residual costs, total bailing will be about 250 USD to 300 USD. 

Total Harvesting Cost- 300 USD to 350 USD. 

Cost 8: Miscellaneous Cost in Alfalfa Production

During a cultivation process, there are lots of other miscellaneous costs that one needs to bear.

For example, you might need to invest money for security purposes, giving fences, nursing, etc. All of these miscellaneous jobs cost at least 1000 USD.

These miscellaneous costs are not something that you will need for sure. But it is always wise to have some spare money when facing deficiency.

Also if you appoint labor to monitor your cultivation then it will add up some more costs. 

Basic Requirement of Alfalfa Cultivation

Requirement of Alfalfa Scale 
pH of soil  6.6 to 7
Sunlight  At least 6 hours 
Temperature  72 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit 
Watering  0.5 inch to 1 inch per week
Fertilizer  Must contain nitrogen phosphorus, potassium and manganese.
Moisture of soil  70% to 90%


What Is the Best Month to Plant Alfalfa?

On the off chance that you have land accessible for hay in pre-fall, ideal cultivating dates are July 15 through August in the Upper Midwest and nearer to July 15 for northernmost locales. For producers in hotter environments, cultivating into early September is adequate.

What Type of Soil Is Best for Alfalfa?

Alfalfa can be effectively created on an extensive variety of soil surfaces, however sandy topsoil, sediment soil, and dirt soil soils are for the most part liked. These dirt kinds give the best blend of water penetration, water-holding limit, and air circulation for hay.

Does Alfalfa Need to Be Replanted Every year?

Suggested time frames or a year were most often detailed, yet the reach was two weeks to two years. Numerous respondents remarked that their most normal suggestion was to reseed alfalfa after a turn with a non-vegetable harvest developed for at least one season.

Is Growing Alfalfa Profitable?

It’s a productive yield nowadays, with costs for excellent feed habitually coming to $250/ton. Yet, notwithstanding its more than $1 billion worth to the province of California, alfalfa gives a large group of ecological advantages that are habitually ignored.

What Happens If You Don’t Cut Alfalfa?

When your alfalfa gets sufficient downpour for regrowth it could regrow somewhat quicker assuming it’s cut, yet it additionally will regrow following adequate downpour without cutting. As a rule, it’s not worth the expense and time required to shred, clasp, or collect low-yielding feed.

Final Words

Alfalfa is an elegant crop. It is full of nutrients and food values. If you are planning to invest in agriculture, alfalfa production can be a good option. Therefore in the right season do not wait and start the preparation unit.

Once you get the idea of how much does it cost to plant alfalfa per acre, then you can use the ratio to any amount of land.

But one thing you should keep in mind is that the scale of Economics is very effective in alfalfa cultivation. This means, the more you cultivate, the less the average cost.

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