Development and evaluation of grazing-tolerant alfalfa cultivars: A review

S. R. Smith, J. H. Bouton, A. Singh, W. P. McCaughey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

Plant breeders have long sought to improve grazing tolerance of alfalfa without sacrificing the beneficial yield and quality attributes of this species. Most efforts have focussed on selecting for traits (e.g., creeping rootedness) related to grazing tolerance and/or simulated grazing, but these efforts failed to account for the multiple stresses caused by grazing animals. Trait selection often led to sacrifices in yield and other desirable characteristics resulting in cultivars that were not robust across grazing management systems and environments. An innovative selection procedure was recently developed at the University of Georgia which incorporated intensive grazing with continuous stocking by beef cattle. The development of 'Alfagraze' using this procedure showed that grazing tolerance and high yields can be incorporated into the same cultivar, along with consistent performance across grazing management systems and environments. Subsequent research has shown that grazing tolerance can be improved within elite, high-yielding, multiple-pest-resistant cuitivars and breeding populations. Selection using intensive grazing with continuous stocking has been summarised in a 'Standard Test Protocol' that is now being successfully used by public and private alfalfa breeders and in cultivar evaluation programs in the USA, Canada, and other countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-512
Number of pages10
JournalCanadian Journal of Plant Science
Volume80
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2000

Keywords

  • Alfagraze
  • Grazing tolerance
  • Lucerne
  • Medicago sativa
  • Medicago sativa ssp. falcata
  • Persistence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science
  • Horticulture

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Development and evaluation of grazing-tolerant alfalfa cultivars: A review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this