Selecting alfalfa varieties with high forage yield potential and persistence is fundamental to obtaining high levels of economic return. Yield potential of public and privately developed alfalfa varieties has been continually evaluated in research trials at the University of Minnesota over the past 80 years.
As participation from alfalfa marketers and developers has declined, we have reduced the numbers of trials. 2021 is the final year of the 2018 trial and of the variety testing program. Yield results for alfalfa varieties currently tested at Rosemount, MN are listed in Table 1. Varietal yield difference tends to increase with stand age. To choose a variety for short-term stands, consider yield performance the first and second years after seeding.
There are many other alfalfa variety traits important for growers to consider in selecting a variety. These include winter survival, disease resistance, and leafhopper resistance. Variety comparisons for these traits provided by alfalfa marketers are described in the National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance’s Alfalfa Variety Ratings leaflet.
2021 Yield Data
How to interpret the data
Yield performance of varieties is presented as a percentage of check variety yields (avg. for Vernal, Oneida VR, and 5312). Within the table, varieties are ranked according to their yield. Yield values are separated using a least significant difference statistical test (LSD). The least significant difference or LSD is a statistical method to determine whether the observed yield difference between any two varieties is true. If the difference in yield between two varieties equals or exceeds the LSD value, the higher-yielding one is indeed superior in yield. If the difference is less, the yield difference may have been due to chance rather than genetic differences, and we are unable to differentiate the two varieties. The 5% unit indicates that, with 95% confidence, the observed difference is indeed a true difference in performance.