TO:         Potential Entrants in Alfalfa Performance Tests in North Dakota

FROM:    Dwain W. Meyer

DATE:    January 10, 2003

Performance tests of public and proprietary alfalfa cultivars and experimental lines nearing release will be established again by the North Dakota Agriculture Experiment Station at Fargo in 2003.  Two locations (Fargo and Carrington, ND) will be established in 2003.

The Fargo location is a medium-high (4.8 tons DM/acre) forage yield, dryland environment, although the last 5 years have averaged over 6.5 tons/acre.  Winter injury, diseases (except common leafspot and Fusarium root rot), and insects in the past generally were not major problems; although, winter injury was a yield factor in 1996 and 2001, potato leafhopper in 1991, 1998, and 2002, spring blackstem and anthracnose in 1994, anthracnose and rhizoctonia root rot in 1995, Fusarium wilt and spring blackstem in 1998, alfalfa blotch leafminer in 1998 and 1999, and armyworms in 2001.  Apparently the above-average precipitation over the last 6 years has increased disease and insect problems.

The Carrington locations is also a medium-high (5.9 tons/acre in first year decreasing to 4.5 tons/acre in third year) and is irrigated.  Diseases and insects have rarely been a problem.  Winter injury/kill has been a major factor decreasing forage yield with stand age.  Nearly 100% winter kill occurred in 1989 and 1996 (third harvest year) with no varietal differences with winter injury occurring in some other years. 

All entries will be clear-seeded broadcast at 25 lb/acre in 5- by 25-ft plots and cut back to 20-ft plots before harvest.  A four-cut system will be used with harvest at early bud, late bud, 25 to 40% bloom (based on Dormancy Level 2 cultivars), and at 50% bloom or after a killing frost (our objective is to harvest at 180 relative feed value based on the PEAQ system).  The field design will be a randomized complete block with four replicates. Weed control in the seeding year will be obtained by postemergent application of Pursuit at 2 oz/acre with a methylated seed oil.  Fertilization generally is not needed, but 50 lb P and 100 lb K/acre will be applied to insure adequate fertility. 

Data will be collected on forage yield, maturity at harvest if other than stated, disease and insects when a yield factor, 4-year stand persistence if meaningful, and winter injury when a yield factor.  Varietal differences will be reported only if significant for all characters other than forage yield.   Forage yield data will be analyzed statistically and reported to the entrant by about January 1 each year and in the North Dakota contribution to CAIC Variety Tests.  The data will be available at the following web site: http:/  under the alfalfa comparisons. Future year’s data will be at the same site except the “03" will change with the year, i.e., “04" for 2004 data. 

To enter North Dakota tests, complete the application and return by March 15.  If  the entry is a released cultivar, seed will be obtained from Dr. Dan Undersander at the University of Wisconsin.  If the entry is an experimental line, please supply 150 g of seed/location.  The evaluation fee will be $425/entry/location.  Entries may also be via email by downloading the entry form from and clicking on “entry form”, fill out the entry, and email me it as an attachment at the email address below. This form will be available after December 1 in 2003 for the 2004 season.  Email address is as follows: