Cultivars of glandular-haired alfalfa, Medicago sativa L., such as ‘54H69’, are currently available and marketed as being resistant to potato leafhopper, Empoasca fabae (Harris). Between 2000 and 2002, studies were conducted to compare the effects of ‘54H69’ and a standard, nonglandular-haired alfalfa cultivar, ‘Choice’, on alfalfa weevil, Hypera postica (Gyllenhal), and potato leafhopper populations at Campbell and Montgomery counties, Virginia. ‘54H69’ had no effect on alfalfa weevil populations. At each location, densities of alfalfa weevil in ‘54H69’ and ‘Choice’ were similar, but pest pressure was higher at Campbell Co. than at Montgomery Co. and always exceeded the economic threshold before insecticide was applied. Densities of potato leafhopper also did not differ between ‘54H69’ and ‘Choice’ in any year at the two locations. Insecticide treatment effectively reduced potato leafhopper densities in the two cultivars, although populations were below the economic threshold at both locations when the insecticides were applied. Overall, postinsecticide treatment comparisons showed that the densities of alfalfa weevil and potato leafhoppers were similar or higher in untreated ‘54H69’ compared with insecticide-treated ‘Choice’. In addition, there were no differences in seasonal dry yields between ‘54H69’ and ‘Choice’ in any year at either location. Our results indicate that the glandular-haired alfalfa ‘54H69’ does not provide acceptable resistance to potato leafhopper and also does not offer a yield advantage to growers in Virginia.
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Vol. 98 • No. 1