How Much Does It Cost to Plant Alfalfa Per Acre? (Explained)

Planting alfalfa is quite costly. Even more, if you do it on an entire acre of land. That’s why you’ve to calculate the total cost accurately. Otherwise, it may lead to several problems. 

So, how much does it cost to plant Alfalfa per acre?

The total cost of planting an acre of alfalfa is around $2430. First, prepping an acre of land will cost $242. Fertilization and planting cost around $900 and $225 respectively. You also have to pay for irrigation which will cost $73.50 and $59. Sampling alfalfa is necessary and costs around $647.50. Other than that, there’s harvesting which costs $277.50 on average. 

We bet you feel like you don’t have the full picture yet. Don’t worry. We’ve broken down the cost of each factor. 

Just read our article and it’ll clear up everything. 

Total Cost to Plant an Acre of Alfalfa

The total cost of planting an acre of alfalfa depends on a number of factors. Some of them can be avoided and some can’t be. So, let’s see the cost chart of planting an acre of alfalfa. 

Farming PhaseTotal Estimated Cost
Land Prepping$242
Fertilization$900 + service charge
Sprinkler Irrigation$73.50
Flood Irrigation$59.00
Tissue Sampling$647.50
Total cost $2424.50

 What do you think of the total cost after going through it? 

There’s more to this and we’ve elaborated and explained every section. So, stick with us till the very end to have the full picture. 

Alfalfa Plantation Full Cost Breakdown

how much does it cost to plant alfalfa per acre

Breaking down the total cost will explain the numbers. It’s far easier to spend if you’re spending correctly, right? 

Here is the full cost breakdown you’ve been looking for- 

1. Land Preparation

Like other crops, you’ll need to prepare the land to plant alfalfa. Land preparations are done in multiple steps. 

First, the land must be chiseled first. Most services will charge you around $19.70 per acre. After that, roll the ground with a rice roller. This costs about can $6.50 per acre according to most farmers.

When that’s done, you’ve to laser-level the ground and harrow it afterward. These services cost around $175 and $40 per acre respectively. 

So, with everything combined, you’re looking at a total of $241.20. 

2. Fertilization

After preparing the land, it’s time to fertilize the land. For Alfalfa, you need Ammonium Phosphate aka. nitrogen 11-52-0. 

You’ll need a total of 200 lbs of ammonium phosphate for 1 acre. $45 is the average price per 10 lbs. So, the total cost for nitrogen 11-52-0 will be about $900. There are also labor costs that vary state-wise. 

Speaking of nitrogen, these are our top recommendations-

Now you can easily choose a brand and get started right away! 

3. Planting Seeds

After fertilization, it’s time to plant the seeds. There are two different costs that you need to estimate. 

The first is the total cost for the seeds. Another one is the technology fee for planting the seeds. 

Alfalfa seeds cost around $5 to $6 per pound. You need an average of 25 lbs of seeds for an acre. This brings you to a total of $150 ($6/lbs). 

You also have to pay a little technology cost per pound. It’s usually $3 per pound which costs a net total of $75. 

To save you some time, we’ve listed our favorite picks-

Pick whichever suits you the most and you can commence the phase immediately.

4. Sprinkler and Flooded Irrigation

After this, you’ll need proper irrigation for your land. People normally use sprinkle irrigation in the establishment period. 

An acre of sprinkler irrigation would cost around $73.50. Apart from that, you’ll need flooded irrigation for a proper water supply. The flooded irrigation costs you about $59 per acre. 

5. Alfalfa Tissue Sampling

Tissue sampling is super important. By doing these tests, you can immediately know what nutrient is lacking. 

Based on that, you can potentially save your crop from a disaster. For alfalfa, you’ll need to pick at least 25 samples for testing. Each of these samples will cost $25.90. 

Everything combined, you’re looking at a total of $647.50.

6. Harvesting 

Alfalfa harvesting prices have two different calculations. One of them is the total swathing or raking cost. The other is the bale-related cost. 

If you’re hiring a private raking service, you’ll be charged $22.50 per acre. Remember that this cost varies from one service to another. 

As for baling and carrying the bales, it’ll cost you about $255 total. Let us break it down for you.

The total average amount of alfalfa bales is about 150 bales per acre. The services will charge you $1.10 per bale. There are also road siding costs; about $0.60 per bale.

There are costs for several other services and products. For example, you’ll need pesticides in case your crops get attacked. 

To make your life easier we have recommended some good quality pesticides-

Feel free to use them if you like. 

So these are all the costs associated with cultivating an acre of alfalfa. Make sure you avoid any mistakes when growing alfalfa

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How much money can you make from an acre of alfalfa land?

Answer: Alfalfa yields $98.82/acre on average over three years. If you compare it to $44.77/acre for maize and $39.68/acre for soybeans, it’s really profitable.

Question: Is it profitable to grow alfalfa plants?

Answer: On most dairy farms, alfalfa is a primary profit center. The annual yield has the greatest influence on profitability. This is because inputs, like harvesting expenses, remain relatively constant while output rises.

Question: Is it hard to grow alfalfa?

Answer: No, it’s not hard to grow alfalfa. Alfalfa is a versatile plant. It can be cultivated and propagated in almost any garden. They can grow in a broad variety of environments. 


So, how much does it cost to plant alfalfa per acre? By now you already know the answer to this question.

However, some extra costs might still occur as conditions can vary. That’s why it’s better to have some extra cash in hand. 

Good luck with your farming.

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