The Farm

Deep Springs cultivates 152 acres of alfalfa each year, producing around 350 tons of alfalfa hay. The bulk of the hay is fed to the college's cattle and other livestock, with very little left over for sale. During wet years, we often make a profit from sales, but in drought years we sometimes have to buy alfalfa to make up for the decrease in production. All nine fields are irrigated by wheel and hand irrigation lines, with the water supplied from Wyman Creek out of the White Mountains. This water is supplemented by deep wells beneath the valley floor.

The college has employed organic farming practices for many years, and though we are not currently certified, the alfalfa is completely free from herbicides and pesticides. Under the jurisdiction of the Farm Manager, students are responsible for moving irrigation lines, maintaining water reservoir levels, as well as cutting and baling the alfalfa. The typical growing season runs from mid-April, when the water is first turned on, to the beginning of October, when the water is turned off. The typical yield during this time is three or four cuttings, depending on whether the Ranch and Farm Managers decide a field of alfalfa could be better used as a grazing area rather than having it harvested and baled. Two fields are usually reserved strictly for grazing. All of the fields follow a certain crop rotation, and winter wheat, barley, and sudan grass are not uncommon crops to find growing alongside the alfalfa.