ALFALFA (Medicago sativa L.)  only forage crop which was cultivated before recorded history—a distinction that limits the accuracy with which its origin can be deduced. Most authorities generally agree that alfalfa probably originated in Persia (an arid region which is now mainly Iran) . DeCandolle  stated in 1902 that "alfalfa has been found wild, with every appearance of an indigenous plant, in several provinces of Anatolia, to the south of the Causasus, in several parts of Persia, in Beluchistan, and Kashmir." This general area of southwestern Asia would include the modern political divisions of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Kashmir.From Persia this forage plant found its way to Arabia, where it was named, "alfalfa", which simply means "the best forage" . True Persia alfalfa also spread to Greece in about 490 B.C.  and later to the Roman Empire in about 200 B.C.The Romans made use of it in Italy and many other parts of the Mediterranean region .Concerning the spread of alfalfa after its introduction into Italy, Bolton suggested that theRomans introduced alfalfa into western Europe when they invaded that area. However, with the fall of the Roman Empire and the advent of the Dark Ages, alfalfa disappeared from Europe, or at least from the rccords. During this time it is thought to have been cultivated by the Arabs in the oases of North Africa .The introduction of alfalfa into the New World began with the Spanish explorers and settlers of South America and Mexico. Early in the 16th century, the Spaniards conquered Mexico and Peru, introducing alfalfa and other crops. From Mexico and Peru alfalfa spread to Chile and Argentina in the 1600’s and to Uruguay in 1776  .
Alfalfa, a plant of the pea family grown primarily for forage, especially as hay. It is one of the most useful and widely grown hay crops in the world .Because of its high protein content, alfalfa is used as a food for almost all farm animals as hay, as silage, or as a temporary pasture crop. Because of its nitrogen-fixing properties, it is used in crop rotation to improve soil for other crops. When planted in combination with grasses, it helps prevent soil erosion. Alfalfa is also grown commercially for seed in arid or semiarid regions. Dehydrated alfalfa is ground into meal and used in feeding poultry and livestock. Indirectly, alfalfa is a source of honey, because bees gather substantial quantities of nectar from alfalfa flowers. During the early 2000s, alfalfa was the most cultivated forage legume in the world. Worldwide production was around 436 million tons in 2006. In 2009, alfalfa was grown on approximately 30 million hectares (74,000,000 acres) worldwide; of this North America produced 41% (11.9 million hectares; 29,000,000 acres), Europe produced 25% (7.12 million hectares; 17,600,000 acres), South America produced 23% (7 million hectares; 17,000,000 acres), Asia produced 8% (2.23 million hectares; 5,500,000 acres), and Africa and Oceania produced the remainder. The US was the largest alfalfa producer in the world by area in 2009, with 9 million hectares (22,000,000 acres), but considerable production area is found in Argentina (6.9 million hectares; 17,000,000 acres), Canada (2 million hectares; 4,900,000 acres), Russia (1.8 million hectares; 4,400,000 acres), Italy (1.3 million hectares; 3,200,000 acres), and China (1.3 million hectares; 3,200,000 acres)

Alfalfa in IRAN:
Among the countries producing alfalfa, Iran is ranked eighth in the world and its average level in the past decade was more than 700 thousand hectares, producing 3.4 million tons of dry alfalfa.

Date of Alfalfa cultivation in Iran

alfalfa in Iran are cultivated in autumn and spring. For Iranian farmers, spring planting is preferable to spring planting. Autumnal planting in cold regions, early September and moderate cold zones, is taking place by mid-September. Cultivation in the spring usually occurs after the removal of spring cold from the second half of May to June.

The most important varieties of alfalfa seed in Iran

Hamedani , Bami, Yazdi, Qarat yonje, Baghdadi, Mohajerani, , Herati, Afghani, Faminin and Nikshahri and ..... .

Alfalfa cultivars in all provinces of Iran (2012)

Forage Harvesting in Iran:

In large fields, the forage is cut with the tractor and the mower, and then, with the device called Rick, the forages are rows and after 48-48 hours, the feed and drying of the forage are packed with a bagler and then The collection of packets is transferred to the warehouse.