Vernal Alfalfa



Vernal is one of the older alfalfa varieties available. It has been used in a wide variety of climates and for multiple purposes all over the world. And although “Vernal” and “cheap” have become almost synonymous, it sometimes survives more seasons than newer higher yielding varieties. Previous generations all asked for vernal seed, and because it was cheaper (public variety) than the newer patented cultivars of the 1970s, farmers became accustomed to the idea that “vernal” meant “generic”.

But Vernal does in fact have characteristics that make it a good selection in certain applications. Vernal was developed as a mid-western alfalfa by the University of Wisconsin in the 1950s. The name came from the “vernal equinox”, as it goes fully dormant in late fall and does not awaken again until well past the first cool thawing spring days. A alfalfa originated from temperate parts of the world that never experienced an upper midwest winter, the original plant scientists developing vernal had to find plants that would go dormant for winter and keep the root alive to regrow next spring. Vernal, therefore, is best suited to northern climates. Vernal alfalfa is a cool weather crop that prefers to grow in the cooler temperatures of spring and fall.

Alfalfa will perform best when plant with adequate starting moisture. Vernal alfalfa has good winter hardiness and a moderate regrowth rate after cutting. Vernal alfalfa is deep rooted and drought tolerant and is a good selection for ranch plantings and pasture mixes. It will adapt to deep well drained soils of all types as long as PH levels are within the range of 6.4-7.5.

When compared to new improved varieties Vernal has moderate yield potential and persists about as long.

Bacterial WiltResistant (R)
Fusarium WiltModerate Resistance (MR)
Northern Root Knot NematodeModerate Resistance (MR)
Fall Dormancy2

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