Factors Affecting Alfalfa Stand Longevity in Montana

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2003: $139,397.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: Western
State: Montana
Principal Investigator:
Dennis Cash
Montana State University

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: general hay and forage crops, hay


  • Animal Production: feed/forage
  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, extension
  • Farm Business Management: feasibility study, agricultural finance
  • Pest Management: biological control, chemical control, field monitoring/scouting, traps
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures


    2. SUMMARY

    The objective of this project was to thoroughly investigate factors related to alfalfa stand longevity in Montana. Twelve alfalfa fields were monitored over three years for the incidence of foliar and root diseases, arthropod pests, and crop management practices related to stand mortality. Particular emphasis was placed on evaluating the prevalence and severity of several new or unfamiliar pests in Montana, including the clover root curculio (CRC), alfalfa mosaic virus, and brown root rot. Crop management and insecticide trials were conducted to evaluate their impacts on CRC, other pests and alfalfa productivity. Numerous outreach activities were initiated through this project.

    Project objectives:


    The objectives of this project were to investigate numerous biological and management practices that impact alfalfa persistence in production systems in Montana. Longer, productive alfalfa stands are desired by producers, however critical management steps may be required, and there may be some inherent limitations due to pest populations and interactions. Very little is known about the relationships among CRC feeding damage and prevalent root and crown rot pathogens that limit alfalfa stand longevity in Montana. Optimal alfalfa stand persistence will be beneficial to alfalfa producers to sustain stable hay production, and minimize economic and system risks. This multi-year WSARE project was particularly suited to monitor alfalfa stand and pest dynamics for three years post-establishment.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.