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ISSUE DATE: 06/09/2014

NMSU develops drought-tolerant alfalfa variety

By Kylene Scott

New Mexico has a unique climate, allowing farmers to grow premium alfalfa hay. Farmers are even more able to manipulate quality by controlling irrigation, harvesting and baling practices. New Mexico State University researchers have nearly perfected a drought-tolerant alfalfa variety to add to the arsenal, and it is set to be released commercially in 2015.

Alfalfa producers in the state often face water restrictions for irrigation and in general have limited natural precipitation. Robert Flynn, an agronomist with the NMSU ag science center in Artesia, New Mexico, along with colleague Ian Ray, have been researching and developing drought tolerance in the NuMex Bill Melton variety. The variety is named in honor of Melton, a professor who had an alfalfa-breeding program at the university in the late 1970s.

This cultivar yields well in both wet and dry soil conditions—allowing for the alfalfa to survive during drought conditions and produce a marketable product when other varieties can’t. Flynn said some varieties do well under normal irrigation practices, but once the water is withheld, they don’t do as well. This new variety doesn’t seem to have this issue.

“We are hopeful that the variety will become a favorite under normal and limited irrigation conditions,” Flynn said. “When choosing varieties for limited water situations consider those that have a lower dormancy rating than would otherwise be chosen so that persistence will increase.”


NEWS

Feed the Future Initiative reduces hunger and poverty, boosts incomes and nutrition around the world
Grants available to help communities reduce wildfire risk
House panel votes to allow waivers on school meals while USDA announces school meal flexibility

CROPS

Awards presented by Iowa State University Agriculture Honor Society
Cattlemen applaud legislature, governor for SB 1851
E15 approved for sale in Missouri
Fine-tune, calibrate sprayer to reduce pesticide costs
Garden City field day shows drought effects
Iowa Farm Bureau president appointed to CAST board
Kansas Community Garden Conference planned for July 7-8
K-State Ag Research Center hosts spring field day
Memorial Day weekend brought the perfect rainstorms for many
Miseners keep harvest tradition alive
New conservation initiative goes beyond traditional government efforts
Osowski crew gets started in Hobart, Oklahoma
Roland Harvesting begins new chapter
Sorghum checkoff funds new trait research
UNL Extension offers tractor safety course in June
UNL Extension plans centennial celebrations throughout western Nebraska
Water quality gets big improvement in Little Arkansas River watershed
Wheat plot tour discusses varieties, drought
Z Crew delays start of harvest season

LIVESTOCK

Advances in equine Cushing's disease
AgriLife study shows reflective hutch covers improve dairy heifer comfort, aid in productivity
Bison business nears $280M in meat sales in 2013
Bovine veterinarian health conference scheduled Aug. 3 at Texas A&M
Checkoff looks at millennial consumers' demand for beef
Chris Stallo to lead the American Angus Association's membership operations
CSU beef specialist appointed to lead UNL Panhandle Extension
Flies cost cattlemen money
Industry organizations providing input on sustainability
Keep sows cool this summer: Evaluate Temperature Humidity Index in your facility
Missouri passes landmark dairy legislation
NDA reminds producers with livestock entering Nebraska from Texas to follow health regulations
Scientists scrutinize role of supershedder cattle in E. coli O157:H7 contamination
Sioux County Open Youth Horse Judging set for June 20
Speakers at AHC's June Issues Forum set
Stout Experience Awards presented
Summer interns join the Angus team
Supplementing feed with active dry yeast can help reduce negative effects of stress
TAHC advises livestock, pet owners to prepare early for hurricane season
Vesicular stomatitis detected in 5 horses in Texas
Warm weather ahead: Is your calf starter on par?

EDITOR

Don't dismiss EPA rule's potential
Leaving legacies
The Sweet Corn Preservation Society

COLUMNS

Be thankful
Company offers lifetime warranty on hopper, bin roofs
Company to celebrate centennial
Condemning our children in the name of politics
Obama keeping us in the dark
Website redesign puts ag tests at fingertips

MARKETS

Additional moisture received Oklahoma
All grains close lower
Amarillo livestock sales summary
Crop development plays catch up Montana
Dodge City cattle sales report
Georgia livestock auction summary
Grain market close
Hay movement slow to moderate
High Plains direct slaughter cattle sales report
Most hay classes steady
OKC West livestock auction report
Pratt 3 p.m. feeder cattle report
Pratt livestock auction report
Rains help corn, soybean emergence Kansas
Rains miss central counties Nebraska
Warm, dry conditions allow fieldwork to progress Missouri

RANGE

Colorado hay producers encouraged to list in annual directory
Moist hay, hot temperatures mix for combustion and destruction
MU Extension guide on forage irrigation systems available
NMSU develops drought-tolerant alfalfa variety
Tortoise keeper's interest in teff hay sparks interest for future NMSU research

FAMILY

Burlington FFA members learn at OSU Cooperative Extension activities
Contemporary Carthage has plenty of space
Meditation
New labels to help ID added sugars
Use your noodles!

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