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Forage Crops in Illinois

Performance of Commercial Forages in Illinois, 1999

The University of Illinois commercial forage testing program has been testing public and private forages for over 48 years. The initial purpose was to evaluate the many public varieties available, today public varieties are far out numbered by private varieties. This year 51 seed companies are participating in the 1999 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 1999 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 $375 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 207 varieties were tested in 1999.

Number and location of tests In 1999, tests were conducted at 7 locations throughout the state (see map). 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.

Stand Score Notes are taken at early green up during early spring. Criteria for the score is the number of plants which have exibited spring growth. 0 = none 5 = All.


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: Kendall county, south of Yorkville, north eastern Illinois.
Cooperator: Dave Stewart.

Location: University of Illinois, Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center,
     DeKalb county, southwest of DeKalb, north central Illinois.
Cooperators: Lyle Paul, agronomist; Dave Lindgren, farm foreman.

Location: University of Illinois, Crop Sciences Research and Education Center, 
Champaign County, east central Illinois.
Cooperators: Robert Dunker, agronomist, Mike Plotner, farm foreman.

Location: University of Illinois, Orr Agricultural Research and Demonstration Center, 
near Perry, Pike County, west central Illinois.
Cooperators: Glenn Raines, agronomist; Mike Vose, farm foreman.

Location: Clinton County, south of Carlyle, south western Illinois.
Cooperators: Mark Guenzburger.

Location: Southern Illinois University Research Center, east of Belleville, St. Clair County.
Cooperators: Ed Varsa, research director; Ron Krausz, field manager.


Locations May June July August September
Freeport 2.78 5.53 4.16 2.55 2.49
DeKalb 3.95 4.91 3.34 2.28 5.53
Yorkville 5.55 6.46 3.49 4.74 2.92
Urbana 3.32 5.79 3.68 4.80 1.99
Perry 2.57 2.11 2.75 1.71 1.21
Carlyle 3.84 5.42 0.99 1.94 0.88
Belleville 3.84 5.42 0.99 1.94 0.88


  • ABI Alfalfa, ABI Alfalfa, Inc., 2316 259th St., Ames, IA 50014
  • Advanta, Advanta Seeds Pacific, Inc.,P.O. Box 1044, Albany, OR 97321-0452
  • AgriBioTech, AgroBioTech, Inc., 120 Corporate Park Dr., Henderson, NV 89014
  • AgriPro, AgriPro Seeds, Inc., R.R. 2, Hwy 30 East, Ames, IA 50010
  • AgVenture, AgVenture, Inc., P.O. Box 29, US 41 North, Kentland, IN 47951
  • Allied Seed, Allied Seed Coop., Inc., P.O. Box 945, Angola, IN 46703
  • America's Alfalfa, ABI Alfalfa, 2316 259th St., Ames, IA 50014
  • Ampac, Ampac Seed Co., P.O. Box 318, Tangent, OR 97389
  • Barenbrug, Barenburg USA, P.O. Box 239, Tangent, OR 97389
  • Bio Plant, Bio Plant Research, P.O. Box 320, Camp Point , IL 62320
  • Callahan, Callahan Seeds, 1122 East 169th St., P.O. Box 367, Westfield, IN 46074-0367
  • Cargill, Cargill Hybrid Seeds, P.O. Box 5645, Minneapolis, MN 55440
  • Cascade Int'l Seed, Cascade International Seed Co., 8483 W. Stayton Road, Aumsville, OR 98325
  • Crow's, Crow's Hybrid Corn Co., Box 306, Milford, IL 60953
  • FFR, FFR Cooperative, 4112 E. St. Rd. 225, West Lafayette, IN 47906
  • Fine Lawn Research, Fine Lawn Research, Inc., P.O. Box 666, Albany, OR 97321
  • Forage Genetics, Forage Genetics, Inc., N5292 South Gills Coulee Rd., West Salem, WI 524669
  • 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 Lakes, Great Lakes Hybrids, Inc., 9915W-M21, P.O. Box 637, Ovid, MI 48866
  • Great Plains, Great Plains Research Co., 3624 Kildaire Farm Road, Apex, NC 27502
  • Growmark, Growmark Inc., 1701 Towanda Ave., Bloomington, IL 61701
  • Int'l Seeds, International Seeds, Inc., P.O. Box 168, Halsey, OR 98348
  • Jenks Seed, Jenks Seed Connection, 34058 Oakville Road, P.O. Box 1468, Albany, OR 98321
  • Kaltenberg, Kaltenberg Seed Farms, 5506 State Rd.19, P.O. Box 278, Waunakee, WI 53598-0278
  • MBS, MBS, 225 West First St., Story City, IA 50248
  • Monsanto, Monsanto, 3100 Sycamore Road, DeKalb, IL 60115
  • Mycogen, Mycogen Seeds, 1340 Corporate Center Curve, Box 21428, St. Paul, MN 55121-1428
  • NC+, NC+ Hybrid, P.O. Box 4408, Lincoln, NE 68504
  • NetSeeds, NetSeeds, Inc., 9001 Hickman Rd.,Ste 320, Ubandale, IA 50322
  • North Gro Seeds, North Gro Seeds, P.O. Box 859, Cuba City, WI 53807
  • Novartis, Novartis Seeds, Inc., 7500 Olson Memorial Hwy., Golden Valley, MN 55427
  • Olsen-Fennel, Olsen-Fennel Seeds, Inc., 2065 S.E. Madrona, P.O. Box 1502, Salem OR 98309
  • Ottilie, Ottilie Seed Farms. Seeds, 1462 Sanford Ave., Marshalltown, IA 50158
  • Pennington Seed, Pennington Seed, Inc. of Oregon, Lebanon, OR 98355
  • Peterson Seed, Peterson Seed Co., Inc., P.O. Box 346, Savage, MN 55378
  • Pioneer, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., 4445 Corporate Dr., West Des Moines, IA 50265
  • Production Services, Production Services Intl., Inc., 48554,Jefferson-Marion Road, Turner, OR 98392
  • Public Varieties, Various sources.
  • Renk, Renk Seed Co., 6800 Wilburn Road, Sun Praire, WI 53590
  • Seed Mart, Seed Mart, Inc.,P.O. Box 126, 110 N. Broad St., Prescott, WI 54201
  • Sieben, Sieben Hybrid, Inc., 633 N. College, Geneseo, IL 61254
  • Smith Seed Services, Smith Seed Services, 26890 Powerline Rd., Hasley, OR 97348
  • Tri-State Seeds, Tri-State Seeds, P.O. Box 354, Sleepy Eye, MN 56085
  • W-L Research, W-L Research, Inc., 8701 W. US Hwy. 14, Evansville, WI 53536-8752
  • Willamette Seed, Willamette Seed Co., P.O. Box 791, Albany, OR 98321-0277
  • Wyffels, Wyffels Seed Co., Box 246, Atkinson, IL 61235

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