Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2003
Publication Date: 11/1/2003
Citation: Lamb, J.F., Sheaffer, C.C., Brummer, E.C., Rhodes, L.H., Sulc, M., Undersander, D.J. 2003. Comparing yield and forage quality of alfalfa cultivars released during the past five decades [abstract]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts. CD-ROM. Paper No. C06-LAMB771003-ORAL.
Technical Abstract: Previous research has implied that forage yield in released alfalfa varieties declined slightly between the years of 1978 and 1996. Our objective was to compare alfalfa varieties released during the past five decades side by side in replicated yield trials to test for any changes in forage yield over time. Two varieties were chosen from each of the past five decades by examining the annually published CAIC Variety Trial data. At least three consecutive year averages at Rosemount, MN, Ames, IA, and Arlington, WI, were used to select the varieties representative of the past five decades. Ten varieties, two from each of the previous five decades, four more recently released varieties ('Wintergreen', 'DK127', 'Jade II', and 'WL-324'), and two check varieties ('Vernal' and '5454') were compared for yield and forage quality in a randomized complete block design at four locations. All varieties released before 1994 underwent seed increase in 1998, and experiments were established in the spring of 1999 at Ames, IA, Rosemount, MN, Columbus, OH, and Arlington, WI. Forage was harvested once or twice in 1999 and from three to five times in 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003 depending on the location. Regression analyses across all locations in each of the production years (2000 - 2003) showed greater forage yield from alfalfa varieties released in more recent decades. Sub-samples for forage quality analyses were harvested twice in both 2000 and 2001 at three of the locations. Results from the quality analyses will be discussed.