INTERMOUNTAIN HAY

Intermountain Alfalfa Hay is known for its high quality. Livestock owners often seek “mountain” hay for their animals. Leaf to stem ratio has a significant impact on alfalfa quality because the leaves are more nutritious than the stems. The intermountain area has cooler temperatures, especially cooler night-time temperatures, compared with other alfalfa production areas. The cooler temperatures slow alfalfa growth and particularly the growth of the stems resulting in a higher leaf to stem ratio. Curing conditions are also generally better in the intermountain area so the hay often has a brighter green color than in many other alfalfa production areas.

Steve Orloff
Farm Advisor/County Director
University of California Cooperative Extension
Siskiyou County

Menne Ranch Hay Inc, Ft. Jones, CA, has been producing top-quality alfalfa, oat, grass and alfalfa/grass mix hay in Scott Valley since 1971. Their ranch is located in the northern most part of California; this high elevation (3000 feet) location provides a superior growing climate ensuring constant growth and higher protein levels. Their alfalfa hay is produced in manageable 3 tie bales with storage capability exceeding 250,000 bales. All of their bale production is stored inside large hay barns to ensure a longer term quality product where your hay needs can be met year around.

I make recommendations for plant food, weed control, insect control, variety selection and irrigation management with Menne Ranch to help them produce a top-quality weed free and protein rich forage hay. One important contributing factor in reaching this goal is the Menne Ranch location. Alfalfa hay, grown in Scott Valley at high altitudes, is especially nutritious due to excellent growing conditions. Warm, sunny days along with cool nights reduce plant growth rates, letting the plants store sugars that are very nutritious and easy for animals to digest. Sugars are made during the day and used for growth during the night in a process called respiration. In comparison, very hot days and warm nights, such as in the low-altitude, warmer areas of California, increase the growth rate of alfalfa tremendously. However, these high growth rates “burn up” more of the sugars that are so important in producing high-quality alfalfa. (Nevada Heritage Foundation)

Menne’s top-quality alfalfa is highly reputed among feed stores, dairies, horse owners and stables in the Northwest United States. With a thorough understanding of sustainability, their production focus is on proper field rotation and precise soil nutrient supplementation. This helps keep the fields clean of any foreign weed species and ensures that optimal nutrient levels are maintained. Soil and leaf samples are regularly tested for levels of phosphorus, potassium and sulfur. In addition, minor nutrients like Boron and Molybdenum are closely monitored. This attention to sustainability allows a balanced soil fertility program to ensure a consistent top-quality product.

Submitted by: Larry Livesay, Agronomist for Cowley D&L Inc, formerly Dunham & Livesay Inc. B.S degree in Agronomy from Chico State University, California Certified Pest Control Advisor, California Certified Crop Advisor, and over 40 years of experience in hay production.