Farm Progress

Low-lignin alfalfa available nationwide in 2017

The first genetically enhanced alfalfa will be available for growers, with improved quality and cutting flexibility.

September 30, 2016

2 Min Read

HarvXtra Alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology from Forage Genetics International LLC, the industry’s first genetically enhanced alfalfa developed with reduced lignin in the plant, will be available for sale across the United States starting Jan 1.

Limited quantities of the low-lignin forage were planted in limited trials in 2015 and 2016.

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“We’re looking forward to offering HarvXtra alfalfa benefits to more growers in the coming season,” says Shawn Barnett, FGI general manager. “By modifying lignin content beyond what’s possible with conventional alfalfa breeding techniques, HarvXtra alfalfa has been proven to change the relationship between forage quality and date of maturity. During its introductory phase last year and into this season, growers have reported seeing improved forage quality and greater cutting flexibility.”

HarvXtra alfalfa, which is also stacked with Roundup Ready technology, offers growers a significant increase in quality when a normal harvest schedule is maintained. Research trials show a 16% increase in relative forage quality and 16% higher neutral detergent fiber digestibility across cuttings. Growers reportedly benefited from cutting flexibility and the ability to delay harvest for seven to 10 days for an increased yield potential of up to 26% over the life of the stand, without sacrificing forage quality.

“After we started the first cutting this year, it rained every couple of days, taking us more than a week to finish cutting,” says Wisconsin grower Mike Brunmeier. “We cut the HarvXtra alfalfa last — about 10 days after the first fields were cut — along with a conventional alfalfa field for comparison. The samples we pulled showed that the HarvXtra had a 42-point advantage in relative forage quality and scored higher than the conventional alfalfa in other feed value areas.”

Pennsylvania farmer Donnie Martin reported a significant difference in milk weight after feeding his dairy cows a ration that included HarvXtra alfalfa in 2015. “We kept everything in the feed ration the same, only replacing the conventional alfalfa with HarvXtra alfalfa,” he says. “After the switch, we gained more than 2.5 pounds of milk per cow per day. That extra milk can really add up in a month.”

Visit harvxtra.com to learn more and find a list of brands that will offer HarvXtra Alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology and find out where they can be purchased.

Source: Forage Genetics International

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