See what our consumers are saying about us.
"I have used this seed before but this year was the best ever. The snow picture were about 2 weeks ago at the start of a record 2 foot storm. The other picture is after the snow melted. We will start grazing it next week after we finish the corn maze."
"Way to go Idaho!!"
"This is Casey, Chris Kesters wife, he wanted to send you a picture of the forager alfalfa. 2.5 ton to acre on a severe drought year."
ALFALFA RESEARCHER RECOGNIZED FOR HIS WORK
Alfalfa breeders need to quit breeding plants for disease resistance and start breeding for plant persistence, says Purdue agronomist Jeff Volenec.
"I don't buy into the party line," says Volenec. "Alfalfa breeders need to select for persistence and high yield, rather than disease resistance. They need to move away from conventional notions that result in disease resistance remaining the focus of many alfalfa-breeding programs nationwide."
Farmers long have wished that their alfalfa stands would last six years rather than the usual three or four, Volenec says. If plants were bred directly for persistence, farmers might get those six years. Then they'd spend about half the time and money on replanting that they do now.
Only the large, carrot-like roots of alfalfa persist to regenerate a plant at winter's end and after each spring or summer cutting, so that's where Volenec has focused his research. He was the first to find that alfalfa plants survive better when they have greater protein reserves in the roots. He also showed that alfalfa shoots grow much better after cutting if the plant has large protein reserves in its roots and high levels of enzymes that break down starches to simple sugars. "Alfalfa operates a lot like most trees, taking protein out of the leaves in autumn and storing it in the roots for the winter." Volenec says. "They depend on that stored protein to start regrowth in the spring."
Currently, however, most alfalfa breeders haven't picked up on Volenec's findings, even though other researchers in the United States and France have confirmed them. They're still working to improve only pest resistance, believing that persistence will improve when alfalfa better resists pests. Volenec disputes that belief.
"I used their own data," Volenec says, "and showed that with continued breeding for disease resistance, plants didn't live longer. In fact, in some cases, longevity declined."
NOTE: Ray Brothers seed has always been bred with hardiness, longevity and yield being the prime considerations. Many stands of our alfalfa have been in for over 10 years and are still viable. Our 25 years in the field convinced us long ago of the validity of Volened's findings.