University of Vermont

An Integrated System for Improving Alfalfa Longevity Stressed by Clover Root An Integrated System for Improving Alfalfa Longevity Stressed by Clover Root Curculio (CRC), Fusarium oxysporum and Winter Injury

Alan Gotlieb, Sid Bosworth, John Aleong and Ann Hazelrigg, Extension Professor of plant pathology, Associate extension professor of agronomy, professor of statistics, and research technician, Plant and Soil Science Department, University of Vermont, or

Duration: 1992 - 1995

An important factor attributing to early stand decline of alfalfa in the Northeastern U.S. is the clover root curculio (CRC)/Fusarium root disease complex combined with winter injury. The objective of this study was to develop an integrated management system for increasing stand longevity while maintaining production and quality. A three year field trial was conducted to test the separate and combined affects of three management practices that might impact alfalfa longevity: 1) cultivar selection, 2) cutting time and frequency, and 3) chemical control of CRC. Treatments included with or without an insecticide applied the fall of the seeding and first full harvest year, four cutting treatments, and six varieties ranging in fall dormancy and Fusarium wilt resistance.

By the end of the second full harvest year, the insecticide treatment significantly reduced the number of deep feeding wounds on the roots. There was also less disease incidence in some of the treated cultivars but not all. However, stand vigor as measured by stand density, visual stand ratings and first cutting yields in the second harvest year showed no overall impact due to insecticide, but was highly influenced by cutting treatments (taking a fourth cut in the fall reduced the following year’s yields and increased winter injury) and, in some cases, cultivar differences.

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Last modified May 26 2004 12:55 PM

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