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Our Selection of Alfalfa Seeds

The production of high quality alfalfa hay begins with the selection of adapted varieties. Varietal improvement of the last two decades have led to significant improvements in yields, quality, and the overall life cycle of the crop.

In fact, the current varieties have an improved leaf/stalk ratio and are much more adapted to mechanical harvesting, which significantly increases the forage protein percentage.

They also have a flatter tillering plate and are thus more resistant to traffic, which reduces the loss of stalks at harvest, and therefore increases the overall longevity of the crop.

ICS recommends

With 20 years of experience in the market of alfalfa seed, we have been able to select the varieties which are the most adapted to arid conditions.

These varieties are of Australian or Californian origin and enable the production of high quality forage:

  • Superfast,
  • Terralfa 95.50,
  • ICS 9898,
  • Magna 901,
  • Magna 995,
  • Perfect

ICS field agronomists analysing the crop

  • Local adaptation and stand persistence. Optimal growth begins with matching a plant species and cultivar to an ideal environment. The best indication that a variety is locally adapted and persistent can only be given by different tests over a wide range of locations and years. ICS therefore conducts many trials.
  • Dormancy & Winterhardiness. Each variety has a fall dormancy rating ranging from 1 (most dormant) to 10 (non-dormant). In tropical and arid areas with low to non existent freeze, chosen cultivars generally have a dormancy rating of 9 or 10. Currently breeders are seeking dormancy 11 for certain regions of the world..
  • Seed quality. Although rising rates strongly depend on soil preparation and sowing techniques, seed quality must not be underestimated. All seeds provided by ICS have been graded in terms of germination rates.
  • Disease and pest resistance. Selected varieties must at least have a moderate resistance rating (MR) to the main diseases: bacterial wilt, fusarium wilt and phytophtora root rot. The varieties included in our general catalog all meet these criteria.
  • Stand persistence Defined as the total length of life over the years. It depends on cultivars but also management practices such as harvest management decisions.
  • Fall dormancy Fall dormancy in alfalfa is one of the most important traits in determining the adaptation of an alfalfa variety; it is defined as a reduction in plant height in response to reductions in day length and temperature. Fall dormancy is rated 1 to 10, 1 being the most dormant. Recent progress in research have lead to cultivars with dormancy ratings up to 11. They are some varieties being released with dormancy rating 9 since year 2012.
    Less dormant varieties generally have higher yield potential, earlier maturity and increased rates of recovery after harvest.
  • Winterhardiness protection Defined as plant survival and rated 1 to 6, 1 being the most hardy, 6 the least. Historically closely related to fall dormancy: least dormant cultivars having a low winter hardiness and a reduced stand life in general; since the 1980s, breeders have shown that it is possible to break the relantionship between these two traits. This was an important change for it made possible the selection of high yielding varieties (low dormancy) with a good winter survival.
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