Dr. Doohong Min and Low Lignin Alfalfa

(Jamie) Welcome back! Let’s join Kyle and Dr. Min and learn some exciting news about low lignin alfalfa.
(Kyle) Hi this is Kyle Bauer at the Kansas Farm Bureau Building in Manhattan, Kansas. Have the opportunity to visit with Dr. Doohong Min. He is with Kansas State University, Alfalfa Specialist and you have some exciting news about low lignin alfalfa. Why is that significant? (Doohong) Yes reduced lignin alfalfa has developed for the last couple of years. And it will be very important because the reduced lignin alfalfa can give a lot of flexibility to farmers in times of harvesting windows. So in other words, alfalfa has been harvested every 29 days. But farmers can delay their harvesting to every 35 days. So by doing that farmers can still maintain yield, even higher yield. And then maintaining forage quality. Cause usually after blossoming the forage quality goes down big time. But by having this reduced lignin alfalfa farmers can still maintain high forage quality. And also it might give some…reduce the cutting frequency from five to four. So by doing that the farmers can save some money as well. (Kyle) Well truly, and it also opens that window on weather if you have to delay because of weather you aren’t giving up the quality of the feed. (Doohong) Yea, that’s a good question. So, if you have some weather forecast in the next two to three days, then usually after rain farmers hate to harvest. But by having this reduced lignin alfalfa you can wait another week after blossoming. So, although you have a rain you can still wait a week and then harvest a week late. So, that gives a lot of flexibility. in harvesting by maintaining yield and quality. (Kyle) So, if I’m reducing the lignin in the plant does it not stand as well? (Doohong) That’s a good question. Actually the companies like Forage Genetics International and Monsanto, those companies have some Novagen techniques to just take the gene that is responsible for the ligninification process. So they still can retain a level of standability. So, the plant still doesn’t have any lodging issues, compared to commercial variety. (Kyle) Is there any downside from the low lignin being reduced or in it is there any downside for this? Will all alfalfa eventually have this? (Doohong) That’s a good question. As I understand I don’t see any downside because by still delaying your harvest window almost a week to ten days, you still can maintain your forage quality and even you can have a higher yield. As you said, there was some issues on lodging. But as I understand there is no difference in terms of lodging between reduced lignin versus the commercial alfalfa varieties. (Kyle) We’re visiting with Dr. Doohong Min at Kansas State University. This is Kyle Bauer reporting. Back to you Jamie.
(Jamie) Thanks for joining us. I’m your host Jamie Bloom and I hope you enjoyed today’s show. See you next week on Farm Factor – we’re here every Tuesday on AGam in Kansas.

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