Back in March we discussed the importance of reduced-lignin alfalfas and how they might benefit the farmer’s operation in South Dakota. Surprisingly, there are field plots that have been planted with this variety in Brookings, near South Dakota State University. From a distance, a field of low lignin alfalfa will look similar to a conventional alfalfa field. However, low lignin alfalfa will have more leaves, a dense canopy with higher concentrations of leaves in the lower part of the canopy. In my visit with Dwight Tuttle (Alforex Seeds); found fields weed free and ready for its first cutting. Here are a series of pictures from two different fields.
Figure 2. Low lignin alfalfa field harvested on June 11 2015; First cutting. (Photo: Dwight Tuttle & Karla Hernandez (2015))
Figure 3. Newly seeded low lignin alfalfa (Hi-Gest® Alfalfa) (Photo: Dwight Tuttle (Alforex Seeds), 2015)
From what I saw during this visit, there is potential for this new variety. At this point we are trying to look more in actual yield and quality values and compare with conventional alfalfa. With this new technology producers will have more opportunities to know and decide if it will be useful for their operation.