Main content area

‘Don’, a Diploid Falcata Alfalfa for Western U.S. Rangelands

Peel, Michael D., Asay, Kay H., Waldron, Blair L., Jensen, Kevin B., Robins, Joseph G., Mott, Ivan W.
Journal of plant registrations 2009 v.3 no.2 pp. 115
Medicago sativa subsp. falcata, alfalfa, forage crops, cultivars, germplasm releases, crop yield, diploidy, selection criteria, rangelands, plant adaptation, mortality, irrigated farming, dryland farming, Utah
‘Don’ (Reg. No. CV-205, PI 655519), a diploid falcata alfalfa (subsp L.), was developed by the Forage and Range Research Laboratory in Logan, UT, in cooperation with the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station, Utah State University. Recent interest in falcata alfalfa has been high due to its value for increasing the productivity of rangelands. Don was selected for persistence under harsh conditions, uniform yellow flower color, increased seed production, and large-stature plants. Don traces to PI20725, an original collection made by N.E. Hansen in the Don Province of Russia. Don was tested as AU021. Don is significantly more persistent than typical sativa (Subsp L.)–type alfalfas and is meant for use in mixed plantings with grasses either in range or pasture situations typical of the Intermountain region of the western United States. In comparative trials, including irrigated and nonirrigated, where 25 to 50% mortality was observed on sativa alfalfas, Don showed no mortality. When used in mixtures, the production advantage of Don with tall fescue [ (Scop.) Holub; syn. Schreb.] and meadow brome (Rehm.) ranged from 10 to 32% When Don is grown with crested wheatgrass on dry rangelands, similar production advantages are expected, which will make rangelands more productive. Furthermore, when grown in mixtures with grasses, Don will not dominate; rather, it has a low growth habit and stays well below the canopy of most cool-season grasses.