Variety Selection

2017 Alfalfa Variety Selection Tool

Select the best alfalfa genetics for each field and your management practices.

The NEW HarvXtra® alfalfa technology provides flexible harvest options to ease the yield vs. quality tradeoff. Harvest for improved yield or enhanced forage quality. It is traited with Roundup Ready® Technology for a total management package. 

Alfalfa technology traits:

  • HarvXtra® alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology (flexible harvest, improved yield or enhanced forage quality)
  • Genuity®  Roundup Ready®  Alfalfa (better weed control)
  • Conventional alfalfa

CROPLAN® alfalfa varieties offer:

  • Suitability for grazing and high-traffic fields
  • High forage-quality potential
  • Fast regrowth, high yield potential
  • High resistance to multi-race Aphanomyces root rot
  • High resistance to potato leafhopper
  • Multiple species of nematode resistance
  • Longer growing seasons for higher yield potential
  • Varieties for semi- and non-dormant high-yielding regions

Aphanomyces Root Rot Disease

Aphanomyces root rot disease infects roots of the alfalfa plant early after seedling emergence, causing stunting, reduced nodulation and poor root development in seedlings. Visual symptoms usually include roots that have a gray, water-soaked appearance; yellowed cotyledons; stunted growth; and limited yields.

Aphanomyces root rot disease is commonly found in soils that are saturated, poorly drained, compacted or have limited water dispersal. This disease is spread by water-motile spores, which can survive in dead plant tissue and remain dormant in the soil for up to 10 years or longer, even without a host.

  • Race 1 is widely identified in the Midwest, East and areas of the Pacific Northwest.
  • Race 2 has been identified in more isolated areas of the United States in parts of Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland and Idaho.
  • Race 3 (other) is currently being identified as a more severe pathogen to which many race 2–resistant varieties are susceptible.
HarvXtra® Alfalfa's Aphatron 2XT and Rebount 6XT products offer excellent performance under Aphanomyces root rot races 1 and 2 pressure.

HarvXtra® Alfalfa: Shattering Barriers With Breakthrough Technology

For more than three decades, alfalfa breeders have used conventional alfalfa breeding techniques to select for improved forage quality. The most advanced alfalfa today, HarvXtra™ alfalfa offers farmers more flexibility in cutting schedules to achieve greater yield potential or improved forage quality. It does this by modifying lignin content beyond what is possible with conventional breeding. HarvXtra™ alfalfa gives farmers options, not limits.

Varieties developed from conventional alfalfa breeding techniques generally show an incremental improvement in forage quality when compared to non-selected varieties. Examples of cultivars selected for improved forage quality include the CROPLAN® LegenDairy series and Hi-Gest® alfalfa from Alforex.

Significance of Lignin (ADL) in Conventional Alfalfa

  • Content increases as the alfalfa crop matures.
  • Lignin is indigestible and binds with other cell wall components to limit their digestibility.
  • As lignin increases, cell wall/fiber digestibility decreases. HARVXTRA™ ALFALFA LIGNIN (ADL) CONTENT

HarvXtra® Alfalfa Lignin (ADL) Content

  • Rewires how the plant makes lignin, changing both composition and content.
  • With advancing maturity, HarvXtra™ alfalfa has a slower rate of lignification compared with conventional alfalfa.

Agronomic Benefits

HarvXtra® Alfalfa is a stacked trait with advanced weed control through Roundup Ready® Technology.
  • The technologies of Roundup Ready® Alfalfa and HarvXtra™ alfalfa will offer benefits as they work together.
  • Roundup Ready® Alfalfa reduces the risk of stand loss due to weeds, while HarvXtra™ alfalfa provides the additional benefits of harvest flexibility and forage quality potential.

Forage Quality Terms
ADL = Acid Detergent Lignin Lignin is a component of fiber that is essentially indigestible.
NDF = Neutral Detergent Fiber Represents the total fiber fraction that make up cell walls within the forage tissue.
NDFD = Neutral Detergent Fiber Digestibility The percent of NDF that is digestible.
RFV = Relative Feed Value An indicator of forage quality.
RFV=100 at full bloom.
RFQ = Relative Forage Quality Similar to RFV but takes into consideration fiber digestibility.

Management Benefits

HarvXtra® alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology provides farmers with several management options.

Option 1

Farmers can maintain their current harvest schedules to obtain higher forage quality potential. Increased forage quality can:
  • Increase value of hay if sold on quality premium.
  • Improve animal performance, either by:
  1. Increasing dry matter intake on bulk-fill limited diets, or
  2. Increasing forage levels on diets that are not bulk-fill limited and maintaining dry matter intake, or
  3. Reducing the amount of supplement needed.
Option 2

Farmers can also delay harvest to reduce harvest frequency, increase yield potential and maintain normal forage quality.

Advantages of this approach include:
  • Higher forage yield potential.
  • Fewer harvest costs by eliminating a cutting.
  • Increased stand improvement and persistence potential. Cutting intervals of less than 30 days reduce reliability, yield and persistence.
Option 3

Farmers can maximize flexibility during the harvest season by:
  • Choosing to harvest some cuttings for improved forage quality and others for maximum yield potentia

High-Quality, Baled Hay​

Conventional Breeding For Forage Quality

For more than three decades, alfalfa breeders have used conventional alfalfa breeding techniques to select for improved forage quality. Varieties developed using this method include the LegenDairy and RR Presteez lines.

These varieties show an incremental improvement in forage quality when compared to non-selected varieties.

Potato Leafhopper (PLH) Resistance

Potato leafhopper is a small, light-green insect (3 mm long) that feeds on alfalfa plants. Feeding can cause leaf tips to display a V-shaped yellowing, and severe infestations will result in stunted plant growth. Most severe potato leafhopper feeding occurs in new seedings during the summer months. It is also important to monitor pressure in established stands on 1st, 2nd and 3rd cutting regrowth.

Alfalfa varieties with glandular hairs have high resistance to PLH. Forage yield potential of the new PLH FD 4 varieties is comparable to conventional varieties in the absence of PLH.  These resistant varieties allow for increased management flexibility with an option for reduced insecticide treatment.

Damaging Effects of Stem Nematode

Parasitic nematodes are microscopic roundworms that can reduce alfalfa yield and stand life. Several species of nematodes have been identified as damaging to alfalfa.
Nematodes live in the soil, surface irrigation water, alfalfa roots and crown tissue, and have been identified throughout most of the West and Plains region to cause significant damage to alfalfa. Plants infested and injured by nematodes are often predisposed to secondary infection by other diseases.

Control nematodes by planting resistant varieties on clean ground. Cut healthy fields first and infected fields last. Rotate every two to three years with a non-host species such as corn, small grains or beans.

Map of stem nematode in the US