Hi-Gest® – Low Lignin Alfalfa Technology
Game-changing alfalfa varieties for yield and quality
With new Alforex alfalfa varieties featuring High-Gest Low Lignin Alfalfa Technology, growers can get improved fiber digestibility and forage quality with harvest flexibility.
Why lower lignin?
Lignin is the complex organic compound that hardens and strengthens the plant’s cell walls. In mature plants, lignin increases yield but negatively affects forage quality. To minimize this dilemma, producers have traditionally had to find a compromise between yield and quality by harvesting at late-bud stage to one-tenth flower. Hi-Gest varieties offer high yield and a 7-10% reduction in total plant lignin with a wider harvest window of up to 7 days.
Better digestibility for more milk
The reduction in lignin in Hi-Gest varieties increases the rate of fiber digestion by 5-10%, which improves animal intake; increases the extent of fiber digestion (as measured by uNDF240) by 5-10%; and raises crude protein by 3-5%. The net impact can be 2.5 or more pounds of milk per cow per day.
During the 2015 growing season, more than 10,000 acres of Hi-Gest 360, 660 and AFX 1060 with Low Lignin Alfalfa Technology were planted in key production areas across the U.S. Those on-farm tests showed Hi-Gest varieties actually reduced lignin by 15%, reduced indigestible fiber at 240 hours (uNDF240) by 22% and increased crude protein by 11% versus the Rock River Laboratory’s running averages.*
More harvest flexibility
Hi-Gest provides the flexibility to work around the weather or manage tonnage and quality to maximize return per acre. Producers can get even higher quality dairy hay at their normal ~28 day cutting schedule or choose to increase yield out to ~35 days and maintain harvest quality of conventional varieties at ~28 days.
Low Lignin vs. Conventional Alfalfa Yield and Quality Compared Over Time
Hi-Gest Low Lignin Alfalfa Technology positively impacts the relationship between yield, quality and time. The charts above illustrate the inverse relationship between increasing yield and decreasing forage quality from increasing lignin content in growing and maturing alfalfa. The conventional and low lignin quality curves illustrate the difference in forage quality at the ~28 day/one-tenth bloom and ~35 day/full bloom stages and the advantage of having an alfalfa with a 7-10% lignin reduction in the field.
Ready for your fields, no special management or stewardship required
After years of testing, varieties in the fall dormancy groups 3, 4, 6, 9 and 10 were advanced commercially and launched under the Hi-Gest Low Lignin Technology registered trademark in 2014 and 2015. Patents are pending for all varieties and hybrids with Hi-Gest Low Lignin Technology.
Alfalfa growers will not need to change their management practices to benefit from the use of HI-Gest Low Lignin alfalfa for haylage or hay. As a non-transgenic technology, Hi-Gest forage production fields do not have or require special stewardship management considerations.
To learn more about Hi-Gest Low Lignin Alfalfa Technology and find a variety that’s right for your fields, talk to your Alforex dealer or call 877-560-5181 to speak with an Alforex agronomist.
*lignin and crude protein= 60-day running averages and uNDF240=4-year running average