Seed Alfalfa

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Robert Blair is trying something new on his farm and that is raising alfalfa for seed. Alfalfa is used to make hay for animals like cows, horses, sheep, elk, and other animals that are raised. Robert is one of four people in North Central Idaho who is raising alfalfa for seed production on a dryland farm. Dryland means that the only water that the crops receive is from rain or snow.

Everyone on the Blair farm has learned quite a bit about alfalfa production for seed and Leafcutter Bees. The bees help to pollinate the flowers of the alfalfa plants so that they can make seed. The bees are cared for and special houses and boards are put up for the bees to lay their eggs for more bees.

The bees will lay their eggs in special boards that have holes in them just the right size. The bees will cut a circle piece out of a leaf of alfalfa or they will use leaves from other plants and trees. The pieces are used like a blanket for an egg. Each hole or cell of the board will hold four eggs. The first egg laid will be a male followed by two females and then another male. The boards will be stored in a climate controlled area and will hatch for the next year’s crop.

Alfalfa plants and flowers
Alfalfa, pond, and farmstead looking towards moscow
Gale maslonka from forage genetics loading bee trays to put in the houses
A leafcutter bee house
Dillon & bees
Bee boards & tray
Bee boards & thousands of bees
Andy trying to catch Wild bees
Can you find the leafcutter bee?
Bees & larvae in a tray to set up
A close-up of a bee tray with larvae
A chewed alfalfa leaf used to fill a cell for eggs

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