Alfalfa plots seen in a Quebec field trial.

Todd Hyra remembers the days when the alfalfa seed market looked a lot different than it does now.

“At one point in time, SeCan was quite involved with several forage crops, but the market has shifted over the last 10-15 years,” says Hyra, Western Canada business manager for SeCan the largest supplier of certified seed to Canadian farmers. “Now, the industry has consolidated and there are fewer forage seed companies. The dominant ones have their own proprietary forage products.”

Todd Hyra, SeCan business manager for Western Canada

Still, SeCan continues to offer a handful of conventional alfalfa seed varieties that Hyra says are worth noting: AC Blue J, a traditional trifoliate, tap rooted alfalfa variety; AC Dalton, which has improved verticillium wilt resistance compared to Beaver and Barrier; AC Yellowhead, which has a higher protein content than Beaver, Rambler or Heinrichs; and Peace, also high in protein. The latter two varieties are extremely winter hardy.

“Trying to break the winter hardiness/fall dormancy split has been a major driver of innovation in alfalfa for awhile now,” Hyra says. “There’s been a huge shift in the alfalfa industry over the years, and while SeCan doesn’t play as big a role as we used to, it’s great to see the investment in the potential of the crop. It’s a fun crop to work with and it’s encouraging to see that innovation happening.”

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