Lucerne (Alfalfa) in European cropping systems

Bernadette Julier, François Gastal, Gaëtan Louarn, Isabella Badenhausser, Paolo Annicchiarico, Gilles Crocq, Denis Le Chatelier, Eric Guillemot and Jean-Claude Emile
Posted: 07.06.2021
Chapter 11 from 'Legumes in Cropping Systems' reviews knowledge on the agronomy, genetics, feeding value and harvesting methods used for lucerne (alfalfa; Medicago sativa), which is the temperate climate legume species with the highest protein yield. It has agronomic advantages (high forage production, adequate persistency and drought tolerance) and provides a high-quality feed for ruminants. Lucerne also has positive impacts on the environment such as soil structure, nitrogen fertility, carbon storage, and plant and animal biodiversity. Lucerne production supports sustainable farming systems. Besides seed production that generates significant economic activity, novel uses of lucerne for human or animal health or energy production are also being investigated. Proposals for measures to increase lucerne cultivation in European farming systems are provided.

This article is one out of 15 book chapters. All chapters of the book are available on the Hub.

Julier, B., Gastal, F., Louarn, G., Badenhausser, I., Annicchiarico, P., Crocq, G., Le Chatelier, D., Guillemot E. and Emile, J.-C.,  (2017). Lucerne (alfalfa) in European cropping systems. In: Murphy-Bokern, D., Stoddard, F. and Watson, C. (Eds.).  Legumes in cropping systems. CABI.

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Authors: Bernadette Julier, François Gastal, Gaëtan Louarn, Isabella Badenhausser, Paolo Annicchiarico, Gilles Crocq, Denis Le Chatelier, Eric Guillemot and Jean-Claude Emile
Acknowledgement: Legume Futures has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant No. 245216.

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