Feb. 15 2021 08:58 AM

Sponsored content provided by Parker Heise, NEXGROW® Account Manager

There’s an old saying about making hay while the sun shines because, if you miss your opportunity, forage quality can quickly decline. But that was before HarvXtra® Alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology was developed to maximize quality compared to conventional alfalfa at the same stage of maturity.

Alfalfa producers who have longed for a more flexible harvest schedule to work around rain events, equipment breakdowns or managing multiple fields no longer need to stress about when to cut their alfalfa to get the quality they need.

The HarvXtra trait is a breakthrough in technology that changes the process by which alfalfa plants produce lignin, which is indigestible for animals and binds with other cell wall components to limit their digestibility. HarvXtra alfalfa is not just an incremental improvement in reducing lignin. It’s a giant step forward for alfalfa quality and yield potential with the flexibility to choose what works best for each grower.

By reducing lignin content, HarvXtra alfalfa technology can increase your cutting timing flexibility, giving you the option to:

  • Maintain your normal harvest schedules and achieve enhanced fiber digestibility and overall quality or
  • Delay harvest by seven to 10 days to increase your yield potential without sacrificing forage quality compared to conventional alfalfa at the same stage of maturity.

Increasing forage yield potential by up to 20% isn’t the only advantage to delaying harvests. It can also reduce the number of cuttings made over the course of the growing season, which can lower harvest costs. It also decreases the amount of stress alfalfa stands are exposed to, which helps maintain good plant health and can lead to greater persistence.

These advantages obviously benefit growers who intentionally plan on delaying harvests, but don’t forget about growers who prefer to harvest on routine schedules. They too can benefit from the wider cutting window, as harvests delayed by poor weather can really impact the forage quality of conventional alfalfa.

That becomes less of a factor with HarvXtra alfalfa.

The advantages of HarvXtra alfalfa do not end with the grower, of course, as higher quality forage benefits both dairy farmers and beef producers alike. Alfalfa becomes a better nutrition source when it’s easier to digest, so producers can increase alfalfa in herd rations.

Our research shows the neutral detergent fiber digestibility (NDFd)1 and relative forage quality (RFQ)2 levels in HarvXtra alfalfa consistently averaged 14% to 18% higher than conventional varieties harvested at the same stage of maturity.

In addition to carrying the HarvXtra trait, the alfalfa comes stacked with the Roundup Ready weed control technology. Not only are Roundup Ready alfalfa stands easier to establish, but they also provide better forage quality by simplifying weed management over the life of the stand, which also helps maintain stand health.

For further information about HarvXtra Alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology varieties available and how it can impact your harvest and selling options, call your local NEXGROW alfalfa dealer or visit plantNEXGROW.com.

1 Data comes from an FGI trial in West Salem, WI, comparing three cuttings at 35-day intervals to four cuttings at 28-day intervals with the three-cut system yielding 26% more over the life of the stand. Trials were seeded in 2013 and harvested in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Yield increase is directly correlated to the ability to delay harvest.

2 Data comes from FGI trials comparing HarvXtra® Alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology 2017 FD4 commercial varieties to FD4 commercial checks. Trials were seeded in 2013 and harvested in 2014, 2015 and 2016 in Boone, IA; Mt. Joy, PA; Nampa, ID; Touchet, WA; and West Salem, WI. Yield increase is directly correlated to the ability to delay harvest.

©2021 Forage Genetics International. HarvXtra® and NEXGROW® are registered trademarks of Forage Genetics International, LLC. Roundup Ready® is a registered trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC, used under license by Forage Genetics International, LLC. HarvXtra® Alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology is subject to planting and use restrictions. Visit ForageGenetics.com/legal for the full legal, stewardship and trademark statements for these products.


NEXGROW® alfalfa varieties are for dairy and beef farmers, and commercial hay producers who are always looking for next-generation advances in high-yielding and high-quality alfalfa varieties. Few companies offer a broader portfolio of HarvXtra®, Roundup Ready® and conventional alfalfas than NEXGROW®, and we can help you navigate the many considerations to determine what’s best for your farm. Our HarvXtra Alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology varieties offer growers extra flexibility when it comes to cutting without sacrificing forage quality or yield potential. With a more flexible cutting window, growers are in charge of their harvest schedules. Roundup Ready Technology alfalfa also delivers unsurpassed weed control and crop safety in the field.