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For decades, alfalfa growers have had to choose between harvesting early to maximize yield, but sacrifice tonnage or delay harvest to maximize tonnage, but sacrifice yield. That is – until recently.
Mike Brunmeier of Newton, Wis., is always investigating the newest technologies available to improve his herd and the efficiency of his operation. In 2015, he planted 18 acres of HarvXtra® Alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology and added 50 more acres in 2016. He’s hoping to gain cutting flexibility without losing quality.
After one full season in 2015 and his first cutting in 2016, Brunmeier has been encouraged by what he’s seen with HarvXtra® Alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology.
“While it was harder to judge overall results last year since it was a new seeding, by the third cutting, we saw a good amount of feed out there,” Brunmeier says. “And it tested pretty well.”
“This year was a perfect example of why we’re interested in HarvXtra® alfalfa. After we started the first cutting, it rained every couple of days. While normally we can finish cutting in three to four days, it took us more than a week. We decided to test the HarvXtra® alfalfa and cut it last — about 10 days after the first field was cut — along with a conventional alfalfa field for comparison.
“The first thing we noticed was that HarvXtra® alfalfa produced a large quantity of feed. The samples we pulled showed that the HarvXtra® alfalfa had a 42-point advantage in relative forage quality and scored higher than the conventional alfalfa in other feed value areas.
“Based on what we saw in 2015 and so far this season, HarvXtra® alfalfa appears to be performing as promised. If this continues, we hope to plant all HarvXtra® alfalfa within four years, and possibly reduce our cuttings from four to three. It would be ideal to extend the time between cuttings and gain tonnage while maintaining quality.”
Brunmeier’s Wisconsin dairy operation includes approximately 425 milk cows and 725 cropping acres. With 325 acres of alfalfa and the rest in corn for silage and grain, Brunmeier is able to provide most of the forage and grain needed to support his dairy herd.
HarvXtra® Alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology is the industry’s first genetically enhanced alfalfa developed to maximize quality compared to conventional alfalfa at the same stage of maturity, by reducing the amount of lignin in the plant. It will be widely available for planting across the continental United States starting Jan 1, 2017.
For more information or a list of brands that will offer HarvXtra® Alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology and where they can be purchased, visit harvxtra.com
or call (800) 635-5701.