May 24, 2021 | By Rupp Seeds
Historically, there has always been a trade-off between quality and quantity with the date of alfalfa harvest. Allowing conventional alfalfa plants to grow beyond the most desirable growth stages generally increases yield potential; however, due to the increase in lignin, overall quality decreases. A reduction in lignin content as the plant ages would increase the digestibility of alfalfa, allow for a longer growing period between cuttings, yield potential and open the harvest window wider to allow for increased flexibility for harvest timing. The advent of HarvXtra® Alfalfa with the Roundup Ready® Technology trait has caused the quality penalty to be reduced as yield increases. However, alfalfa without this trait loses quality as the plant continues to grow in an attempt to maximize yield potential. Alfalfa is versatile enough to be used in many types of livestock operations; therefore, management should be focused on the end goal for yield and quality for the type of livestock being fed.
Fertilization, pest management, harvest scheduling and management, along with storage are key factors in alfalfa yield and quality. Learn more in this issue of SeedScoop.
Alfalfa Yield and Quality Management