Dakota Farmer

Millborn Seeds releases hardy, drought-tolerant alfalfa

Northern Seed Extra: Sholty is well suited for interseeding into pasture and rangeland.

October 28, 2019

2 Min Read
Arvid Boe, SDSU plant breeder, kneels in a field of yellow-flower alfala
YELLOW ALFALFA: Arvid Boe, SDSU plant breeder, checks on a yellow-flower alfalfa that he developed. Millborn Seeds

Livestock producers have access to a new yellow-flowered alfalfa variety. Developed by South Dakota State University to thrive in less-than-optimal conditions, Sholty exhibits high drought tolerance and is winter hardy. Also, because of its indeterminate growth habit, Sholty is ideal for interseeding into pasture and rangeland.

“It doesn’t stop flowering, so it stockpiles tonnage in the field,” says Arvid Boe, Sholty’s breeder and SDSU professor of forage and bioenergy crop breeding.

Proven in South Dakota test plots in Bison, Pierre and Highmore, S.D., and Sidney, Mont., Sholty yields on average 2 to 3.5 tons per acre more than other varieties.

“This alfalfa is so impressive and beautiful it catches the eye,” Boe says. “For years, we had test plots along Highway 14 of Sholty, standing waist-high. People would stop and ask, ‘What is that?’ I’d tell them it was alfalfa and they wouldn’t believe me.”

Due to its persistence, drought tolerance and winter hardiness, Sholty is an excellent option for livestock producers in drought-prone areas of South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana.

Sholty is also well suited to interseeding in range or pastureland.

“When alfalfa is interseeded into depleted range or pastureland ... it adds high-value protein to the forage mix that is digestible,” Boe says. Because it is a legume, the alfalfa also add nitrogen to the soil.

Boe began selecting for Sholty nearly three decades ago. Its release was stymied by poor seed production. Then, about a decade ago, Boe reached out to Millborn Seeds for help producing seed. The company, which specializes in grass seed, found a Montana grower who took it on and successfully boosted seed production. Today, there is a supply of Sholty seed available from Millborn Seeds for commercial planting.

“This was a case that took collaboration between university and industry to bring this seed to the public,” Boe says.

For more information, contact Millborn Seeds at 888-498-7333 or visit millbornseeds.com.

Source: Millborn Seeds, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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