THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS commercial forage testing program has been testing public and private forages for over 53 years. The initial purpose was to evaluate the many public varieties available, today public varieties are far out numbered by private varieties. This year 42 seed companies are participating in the 2004 trials. The purpose of this commercial forage testing program is to provide unbiased, objective, and accurate testing of all varieties entered. The tests are conducted on as uniform a soil as is available in the testing area. Small plots are used to reduce the chance of soil and climatic variations occurring between one variety plot and another. The results of these tests should help you judge the merits of varieties in comparison with other private and public varieties. Because your soils and management may differ from those of the test location, you may wish to plant variety strips of the higher-performing varieties on your farm. The results printed in this circular should help you decide which varieties to try.




Selection of entries Forage producers in Illinois and surrounding states were invited to enter varieties in the 2004 Illinois forage performance trials. Entrants were required to provide seed in a commercially available container to the University of Wisconsin for distribution to other public testing programs. This is to ensure performance is not affected by seed source and to avoid each entrant the cost of sending a commercial bag of seed to each program. To help finance the testing program, a fee of $450 per location per 4 years was charged for each variety entered by the seed producer. Most of these varieties are commercially available, but some experimental varieties were also entered. A total of 117 varieties were tested in 2004.

Number and location of tests In 2004, tests were conducted at 3 locations throughout the state (see map on pg. 4). These sites represent the major soils and dairy producing areas of the state.

Field plot design Entries of each test were replicated four times in a randomized complete block. Plot size was 23 feet by 3 feet and end trimmed at each harvest to obtain a 19 foot long plot.

Fertility and weed control All test locations were managed at a high level of fertility for each crop. Herbicides were used at all test locations for weed control.

Method of planting and harvesting All trials were seeded with a five row seeder modified to accommodate small plot seeding. Plots were seeded at 18 pounds per acre. Harvests were taken with a custom built flail chopper equipped with electronic data gathering equipment.




Yield Forage yield is reported in tons dry matter per acre. Yields were converted to a dry matter basis by estimating percent moisture within each trial.





              It is impossible to obtain an exact measure of performance when conducting any test of plant material. Harvesting efficiency may vary, soils may not be uniform, and many other conditions may produce variability. Results of repeated tests are more reliable than those of a single year or a single-strip test. When one variety consistently out yields another at several test locations and over several years of testing, the chances are good that this difference is real and should be considered in selecting a variety.

              As an aid in comparing alfalfa varieties within a single trial, certain statistical tests have been devised. One of these tests, the least significant difference (L.S.D.), when used in the manner suggested by Carmer and Swanson1 is quite simple to apply and is more appropriate than most other tests. When two entries are compared and the difference between them is greater than the tabulated L.S.D. value, the entries are judged to be "significantly different."

              The L.S.D. is a number expressed in tons dry matter per acre and presented following the average yield. An L.S.D. of 5% is shown. Add the L.S.D. value to the trial mean. Every variety with a greater yield than the resulting number is “statistically better than average”. Consider the merits of the varieties in this group when making varietal selections.

              To make the best use of the information presented in this circular and to avoid any misunderstanding or misrepresentation of it, the reader should consider an additional caution about comparing entries. Readers who compare entries in different trials should be extremely careful, because no statistical tests are presented for that purpose. Readers should note that the difference between a single entry's performance at one location and its performance at another is caused primarily by environmental effects and random variability. Furthermore, the difference between the performance of entry A in one trial and the performance of entry B in another trial is the result not only of environmental effects and random variability, but of genetic effects as well.


              1Carmer, S.G. and M.R. Swanson. "An Evaluation of Ten Pairwise Multiple Comparison Procedures by Monte Carlo Methods." Journal of American Statistical Association 68:66-74. 1983.






Location: Stephenson county, north of Freeport, north central Illinois.

Cooperators: Dave and Mike Macomber.



Location: University of Illinois, Crop Sciences Research and Education Center, Champaign county, east central Illinois.

Cooperators: Robert Dunker; agronomist, Mike Kleiss; farm foreman.  



Location: Southern Illinois University Research Center, east of Belleville, St. Clair county.

Cooperators: Ed Varsa; research director; Ron Krausz; field manager.




Location                    May    June   July   Aug  Sept

Freeport                     1.70     7.10   7.05   4.10   2.60

Urbana                       4.50     4.08   5.67   4.29   1.99

Belleville                   8.72     2.81   6.75   5.22   0.08





Ag Venture, Ag Venture, Inc., P.O. Box 29, Kentland, IN 47951

AgriPro, AgriPro Seeds, Inc., R.R. 2, Hwy 30 East, Ames, IA 50010

Allied Seed, Allied Seed, L.L.C., 1108 Hilldale Dr., Macon, MO 63552

America’s Alfalfa, ABI Alfalfa, 2316 259th St., Ames, IA 50014

Ampac, Ampac Seed Co., P.O. Box 318, Tangent, OR 97389

Beck, Beck’s Hybrids, 6767 E 276th, Atlanta, IN 46031

Bio Plant, Bio Plant Research, P.O. Box 320, Camp Point, IL 62320

Cebeco, Cebeco International Seeds, Inc., P.O. Box 229 / 175 W. “H” Street, Halsey, OR 97333

Dairyland, Dairyland Seed Co., P.O. Box 958, West Bend, WI 53095

Dekalb, Monsanto, 800 N Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63167

Delong, The Delong Co., P.O. Box 522, Clinton, WI 53525

DLF Int’l Seeds, DLF- International Seeds. Inc., P.O. Box 229, Halsey, OR 97348

Forage Genetics, Forage Genetics, 1897 195th St., Boone, IA 50036

Emerald, Emerald Commodities, Inc., 32041 Cartney Dr. Harrisburg, OR 97466

Garst, Garst Seed Co., 2369-330th St, P.O. Box 500, Slater, IA 50244

Geertson, Geertson Seed Farms, 1665 Burroughs Rd.,Adrian, OR 98901

George Keller, George Keller & Sons Co., P.O. Box 490, 909 Maine St., Quincy, IL 62306-0490

Golden Harvest, Golden Harvest Seed Co., 27420 137th Ave. N., Cordova, IL 61242

Great Plains, Great Plains Research Co., Inc., 3624 Kildaire Farm Rd., Apex, NC 27539

Growmark, Growmark Inc., 1701 Towanda Ave., Bloomington, IL 61701

Hoffman, Hoffman Seed House, 200 E 4th St., Hoffman, IL 62250

Hughes, Hughes Hybrids, 206 N Hughes Rd., Woodstock, IL 60098

Improved Forages, Improved Forages, P.O. Box 230, Lake Oswego, OR 97034

Journey Brand, Fontanelle Hybrids, 10981 8th St., Fontanelle, NE 68044

Kaltenberg, Kaltenberg Seed Farms, P. O. Box 278, Waunakee, WI 53597

Kitchen, Kitchen Seed Company, Inc., P.O. Box 286, Arthur,IL 61911

Lewis Seed, Lewis Seed Co., 33820 Linn-West Dr. Shedd, OR 97377

MBS, MBS, 225 West First St., Story City, IA 50248

Mycogen, Mycogen Seeds, 9330 Zionsville Rd., Indianapolis, IN 46268

Ottilie, Ottilie RO Seed, 1462 Sanford Ave., Marshalltown, IA 50158

Pennington Seed, Pennington Seed, Inc. of Oregon, Lebanon, OR 98355

PGI, PGI Alfalfa, Inc., 225 West 1st St., Story City, IA 50248

Pickseed West, Pickseed West Inc., P.O. Box 888, Tanget, OR 97389

Pioneer, Pioneer Hi-bred International, Inc., 14171 Carole Dr., Bloomington, IL 61704

Power Seeds, 658 Larner Line, RR 1, Fraserville, Ont. Canada, K0L 1VO

Public Varieties, Various sources

Renk , Renk Seed Co., 6800 Willburn Rd., Sun Prairie, WI 53590

Schultz, Schultz Turf and Forage Seed, P.O. Box 1623, Effingham, IL 62401

Seed Research, Seed Research of Oregon, 27630 Llewellyn Rd. Corvalis, OR 97333

Smith Farms, Loren J Smith Farms, 30361 Loren Lane, Corvallis, OR 97333

Smith Seed, Smith Seed Services, P.O. Box 288, Halsey OR 97348

Target, Target Seed, P.O. Box 300, Parma, ID 83660

United Suppliers, United Suppliers Inc., P.O. Box 538, Eldora, IA 50627