1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Not to worry. Check out the archived thread of the Q&A with Ken Hutcheson, President of U.S. Lawns, and the LawnSite community in the Franchising forum .

    Dismiss Notice

Where's the professional part?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by GroundKprs, Sep 12, 2003.

  1. Dchall_San_Antonio

    Dchall_San_Antonio LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 327

    Let me see what I can find out about alfalfa bugs killing horses. That sounds like one of those rumors or hoaxes I see all the time.
  2. trying 2b organic

    trying 2b organic LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 566

    ok but to be honest i dont care about the horses i just want to know theres no wierd stuff in the alfalfa sold as rabbit food. if it is exacty the same, or at least as safe for turf, as the alfalfa I buy in bags of organic lawn fertilizer. and again, anyone who knows the n-p-k of alfalfa, plz tell me.
  3. Popsicle

    Popsicle LawnSite Member
    Posts: 189

    I have a reference that shows alfalfa meal:

    2%-3% N
    .7% P
    2.25% K

    Pesticide residues may be present if not organic.
  4. Green in Idaho

    Green in Idaho LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Posts: 833

    The residue is interesting. Especially for products where the use is the leaf such as alfalfa.

    Alfalfa is often dosed with chems at the agricultural level to produce the crop. Particularly for the alfalfa seed growers (popular in my area). After the seed is harvested the rest of the plant is harvested for ______.

    Perhaps there are some farmers on here who could elaborate...

    Just like the chicken manure and the steer manure, if we look UPSTREAM from the supply there is likely chemical use. To get away from that it would be the "grown organically" at each level and that would be costly.
  5. Dchall_San_Antonio

    Dchall_San_Antonio LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 327

  6. yardmonkey

    yardmonkey LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 340

    OK - I'm now remembering that when I went to the feed store to get the alfalfa, they said they had rabbit food and horse food and that both were pure alfalfa pellets. I said I'll take the rabbit food. They threw a bag in the truck, and I started looking at the label. There were about 15 ingredients. So I exchanged it for the horse food, which had a couple of ingredients. I think both were made by Purina.

    My friend who owns the local organic store (never quite got off the ground, almost out of business) told me about the bug that kills horses.
  7. Dchall_San_Antonio

    Dchall_San_Antonio LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 327

    Okay I'm back with more info about the horse-killing bugs. I was wrong and I apologize for doubting you!

    There is a beetle called the blister beetle that, when enough are eaten, causes death in horses. And blister beetles are often found in alfalfa crops. Some beetles seem to be tolerated in a crop, but there are ways to avoid keeping the blister beetles that might be in the alfalfa field from showing up in the harvested crop. Here is some further reading on the blister beetle.


    The active ingredient in the blister beetle is something called “cantharidin,” (can-THAR-uh-din). This chemical causes blistering of the skin on mammals. In horses and other livestock, large doses of the beetles can cause death. Smaller doses can cause abdominal pain to the point where the horse will act and walk funny. In humans cantharidin has been known since the dawn of medicine as an aphrodisiac. Today we call it Spanish Fly, and it is equally dangerous to us as to horses. And contrary to my junior high gutter education on Spanish Fly, it only works on males, who at the junior high age bracket, hardly need any chemical inducement toward that end. The safer alternative today is called Viagra. Cantharidin is also used to remove warts under a doctor’s supervision. Here is website on cantharidin.


    What any of this has to do with alfalfa pellets is still a mystery. So I'm continuing to dig. I need to talk to someone who makes the pellets.
  8. trying 2b organic

    trying 2b organic LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 566

    I really appreciate the work and anything u can find out about the production of alfalfa pellets as organic fert. and production for sale as rabbit food. ty

Share This Page