Alfalfa Variety Selection is Getting Complicated

Posted by Jonathan Siler on 10/28/2011

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of alfalfa varieties. Each one is different from the other, and some are significantly different. Dozens of new varieties are released each year, along with the development of biotech traits (Roundup Ready, and more on the way). So what is best for your situation?

There are lot of high-quality alfalfa brands and excellent products within each brand. Heritage Seed selected America’s Alfalfa as its primary brand to distribute because it has an excellent product line-up and is developed by the leading alfalfa research group in the world (which also develops many other popular brands). To be honest, within many brands, you can find a great variety that fits your needs. The trick is finding someone to help you interpret the data on each variety so you know what works best in your situation. That is where Heritage Seed can help. Feel free to contact us any time for assistance.

Here are a few basic questions every alfalfa grower needs to ask when selecting a product:

  1. How many cuts do I expect each year? The fall dormancy rating will dictate how many cuts you can get.
  2. What is the winterhardiness rating of the varieties I’m considering? If you’re in the Central and Northern U.S., this is an important question. You don’t want your alfalfa to freeze out the first winter.
  3. What diseases are present in my area? The DRI (Disease Resistance Index) is a crucial tool in selecting a product.
  4. What pests are present in my area? For example, are leafhoppers a problem? If so, a leafhopper tolerant variety may be a good idea.

By learning to asking those questions before each purchase and knowing the answer, you can quickly narrow down your list of options.