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Serving: WI

Dairyland Seed Introduces New Alfalfa Hybrid

New hybrid increases yields.

After decades in development, in 2001 Dairyland Seed introduced the industry's first alfalfa hybrid HybriForce-400. Eight years later, the company is now launching its second alfalfa hybrid HybriForce-2400 Gen-2.

 

"Just a few years after the launch of our first hybrid alfalfa product we have developed a second generation hybrid alfalfa that produces higher yields, better crop consistency and greater winterhardiness," says Chad Staudinger, forage product manager for Dairyland Seed headquartered in West Bend.

 

Why all the fuss about a new alfalfa hybrid?

 

"This is only the second alfalfa hybrid developed," explains Mike Velde, alfalfa breeder at Dairyland Seed's research center in Clinton. "Until the introduction of Hybri-Force-400, alfalfas have been developed from open-pollinated varieties.

 

Parental lines for HybriForce-2400 Gen-2 were selected after years of evaluation for superiority across diverse environments and weather patterns. Research has shown that the hybrid alfalfa performs well in both wet and dry years, through extreme winter conditions and in multiple cutting regimes.

 

"Extensive field studies and trials throughout the Midwest have shown that HybriForce-2400 Gen-2 outperforms competitive alfalfa varieties in 94.3% of the head-to-head comparisons," explains Steve Wagner, Dairyland Seed alfalfa breeder.

 

"HybriForce-2400 Gen-2 hybrid alfalfa takes yield performance to the next level. Producers saw an 8% to 15% increase in yields with HybriForce-400 compared to competitors," Wagner says. "HybriForce-2400 Gen-2 now offers producers an additional 5% yield increase over the first generation hybrid alfalfa." In addition, HybriForce-2400 Gen-2 shows consistency across all soil types, weather extremes and various cutting management practices. Producers can be confident that HybriForce-2400 Gen-2 will yield consistent crops through each cutting, year in and year out. 

 

Wisconsin dairy and alfalfa producers Doug Brander of Spring Green, Keith Duescher of Kewaunee, and Jay Juckem of Brillion, who have grown HybriForce-2400 on their farms, say they like the alfalfa hybrid because the stems are less coarse than most alfalfa varieties which boosts digestibility and increases milk production.

 

"The cows milk much better on HybriForce-2400 due to smaller stems," says Brander. "Intakes increase dramatically as does milk production when they are fed this alfalfa."

 

The trio of producers is also sold on the hybrid, they say because it still yields 3.2 tons of dry matter in the fourth year after seeding.

 

"If I can squeeze out a productive fourth year from a seeding yielding six to seven wet tons to the acre, I figure that's worth an extra $240 to me per acre," explains Juckem.

 

Plant breeder Mike Velde believes being able to successfully develop alfalfa hybrids will lead to the development of alfalfa hybrids within the next 10 to 20 years that dramatically improve alfalfa yields similar to how much corn hybrids have increased yields during the past 20 years.

 

"I think this will unlock the potential yield gain for future alfalfa hybrids," Velde says. "Developing alfalfa hybrids removes the handcuffs we had with open pollinated alfalfa breeding that have kept us from being able to significantly increase alfalfa yields. Now we have the tools to maximize heterosis and significantly increase yields comparable to the improvement we've seen in the past 20 years in corn hybrid yields."

 

Years in the making

 

 Introduced in 2001, HybriForce-400 was the first significant advancement in alfalfa genetics in the previous 20 years, and the dedicated and determined Dairyland Seed research team has advanced its world-class breeding program once again.

 

"The msSunstra technology maintains the hybrid yield of those elite lines all the way through to commercialization by controlling pollination. This is in comparison to traditional approaches to alfalfa breeding, which suffer from random pollination and inbreeding with each stage of commercial seed increase," states Dairyland alfalfa breeder Dr. Paul Sun. This same msSunstra technology was used to develop HybriForce-400.

 

 "HybriForce-2400 Gen-2 is backed by more than 30 years of sound research," says Tom Strachota, general manager of Dairyland Seed. "I have watched our research and products progress throughout the years. Producers can be confident that planting HybriForce-2400 Gen-2 will result in a direct return on their investment."

 

Key points

 

*Dairyland Seed has developed their second alfalfa hybrid.

 

*The hybrid is winterhardy and features fine stems.

 

*Growers say they can get four productive years out of a stand.

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