Alfalfa, however, secretes nectar freely in the Imperial Valley 200 feet below the level of the sea. In the eastern United States and in England it does not produce nectar to a very great extent except in a few localities. According to the census of 1920 there are 8,600,000 acres of alfalfa in the United States, of which 775,000 acres are east and 7,825,000 west of the Mississippi River. As the acreage in the eastern states is practically nectarless, the distribution of alfalfa in this section is relatively of little importance to the beekeeper. But near East Syracuse, N. Y., during very hot seasons, from the second crop in midsummer, from 10 to 30 pounds of surplus have been secured. Also at Peru, Indiana, honeybees have been observed gathering nectar from the bloom. It was estimated that there were about ten bees to the square rod. But alfalfa is seldom a good honey plant east of the Missouri River.
East of the Mississippi River, where there is an abundant rainfall, the cultivation of alfalfa is largely determined by the character of the soil. On fertile limestone soils the acreage is large, but on the acid soils of the swamplands, ricelands, and sandy pine barrens of the southeastern states it can not be grown successfully. New England has 9000 acres of alfalfa, and it is noteworthy that of this acreage 5000 are in Maine — over 4000 in Kennebec County. New York, with 120,000 acres, has a larger acreage than any other eastern state, while Florida, with less than 25 acres, has the smallest acreage. The summer temperature is not an important factor, since on the prairie lands of Mississippi there are 30,000 acres, and on the calcareous soils of Kentucky, 56,000 acres. North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama report only a few thousand acres. Northward on the fertile prairie and glacial soils of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin, there are 390,000 acres of alfalfa.
Bordering the Mississippi River on the west are the five states of Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana, with a combined acreage of 440,000 acres. According to Pammel, in Iowa, where 172,00 acres are grown, alfalfa is of no importance as a honey plant. The beekeepers of Missouri also report the bloom as nectarless in that state.
In the semi-arid tier of states west of the Missouri River, comprising the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, the acreage of alfalfa shows an enormous increase; but, as it is largely grown by dry-farming methods, the surplus of honey stored is very variable. In South Dakota, with 462,000 acres in the Black Hills, where irrigation is practiced, a crop of 100 to 200 pounds of honey per colony is obtained nearly every year. The densest area of alfalfa in the United States is in Nebraska and Kansas, the former reporting 1,215,000 and the latter 1,315,000 acres. In the valley of the Platte River, Nebraska, where irrigation is possible, alfalfa is the main reliance of the beekeeper. But in localities where it is grown without irrigation the yield varies greatly in different years. The surplus comes chiefly from the second blooming in July. On the Republican River, in the southern portion of the state, alfalfa is the most important honey plant. In the eastern rainbelt of Kansas alfalfa is practically nectarless. It is most dependable in the valleys of the rivers and smaller streams west of Topeka. On the bottom-lands it will yield the entire season if water can be reached at a depth not exceeding 10 feet. On the uplands alfalfa secretes nectar only after showers. In Oklahoma alfalfa secretes nectar under the same conditions as in Kansas.
In Texas, alfalfa, of which there are 58,000 acres, is valuable as a honey plant only in the irrigated areas of the Trans-Pecos region. In the vicinity of El Paso there has not been a failure in the crop during 10 years; but at Barstow, Ward County, it is not always dependable.
In the eleven remaining western states 4,000,000 acres of alfalfa are under cultivation, Colorado and California each reporting over 700,000 acres. The 375,000 acres of irrigated alfalfa in Montana are found chiefly along the Yellowstone River and its southern tributaries, and in Ravalli County in the mountains. In no state are larger crops of alfalfa honey obtained than in Wyoming. The larger portion of the 330,000 acres of irrigated alfalfa is in Big Horn County and on the north-central border, and around Laramie in the southeast section. Beekeeping in Colo-