HarvXtra® Alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology from Forage Genetics International, LLC (FGI), the industry’s first genetically enhanced alfalfa developed, is available for planting across the continental United States starting Jan 1, 2017. Limited quantities of HarvXtra® Alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology planted in 2015 and 2016 scored high marks from farmers in an independent research trial, preparing the way for broader distribution in 2017.
“We’re looking forward to offering HarvXtra® alfalfa benefits to more growers in the coming season,” said Shawn Barnett, FGI general manager. “By modifying lignin content beyond what’s possible with conventional alfalfa breeding techniques, HarvXtra® alfalfa has been proven to change the relationship between forage quality and date of maturity. During its introductory phase last year and into this season, growers have reported seeing improved forage quality and greater cutting flexibility.”
HarvXtra® alfalfa, which is also stacked with Roundup Ready® Technology, offers growers a significant increase in quality when a normal harvest schedule is maintained. Research trials show a 16 percent increase in relative forage quality (RFQ) and 16 percent higher neutral detergent fiber digestibility (NDFd) across cuttings. Alternatively, growers benefit from cutting flexibility, and the ability to delay harvest for 7-10 days for an increased yield potential of up to 26 percent over the life of the stand, without sacrificing forage quality.
“After we started the first cutting this year, it rained every couple of days, taking us more than a week to finish cutting,” said Wisconsin grower Mike Brunmeier. “We cut the HarvXtra® alfalfa last – about 10 days after the first fields were cut – along with a conventional alfalfa field for comparison. The samples we pulled showed that the HarvXtra® had a 42-point advantage in relative forage quality and scored higher than the conventional alfalfa in other feed value areas.”
“We kept everything in the feed ration the same, only replacing the conventional alfalfa with HarvXtra® alfalfa,” explained Pennsylvania farmer Donnie Martin who reported a significant difference in milk weight after feeding his dairy cows a ration that included HarvXtra® alfalfa in 2015. “After the switch, we gained more than 2.5 pounds of milk per cow per day. That extra milk can really add up in a month.”