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) (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae). 54H69 and a standard, nonglandular-haired alfalfa ‘Choice’ were evaluated at two locations in Virginia over a 3-yr period. Dry matter yields and concentrations of crude protein and acid detergent fiber were compared at the first, second, and third harvests. Overall, the two cultivars produced similar dry matter yields of comparable forage quality in the absence of insecticides at both locations in each year. Untreated 54H69 did not produce greater dry matter yields than untreated Choice under either light or heavier potato leafhopper pest pressure. Concentrations of crude protein did not vary between the two cultivars at any harvest. Some differences in concentrations of acid detergent fiber were detected between cultivars, but these differences were not consistent among years, harvests, or between locations. Further comparisons between untreated 54H69 and treated Choice were made, but few significant differences were detected in dry matter yields or forage quality. An economic analysis for the study indicated that a grower planting 54H69 would realize less net revenue than a grower planting Choice, largely because of the seed premium for the glandular-haired cultivar and the evident need to treat 54H69 with insecticide for control of alfalfa weevil, Hypera postica (Gyllenhal) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), and potato leafhopper.
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Vol. 99 • No. 4