Hi-Salt Salinity Tolerant Alfalfa – an improved option for yield and quality in saline soils

Hi-Salt Salinity Tolerant Alfalfa

  • Reduces seedling loss during stand establishment
  • Increases total farm yield
  • Helps curb and remediate salinity

Contact Alforex Seeds

Line up of Hi-Salt Salinity Tolerant Alfalfa Products:

PGI 908S Hi-Salt salinity tolerant alfalfa seed  CISCO II Hi-Salt salinity tolerant alfalfa seed  AFX 457 Hi-Salt salinity tolerant alfalfa seed  Rugged Hi-Salt salinity tolerant alfalfa seed  AFX 1060 Highly Digestible Salt Tolerant Alfalfa FD 10  AFX 906 Highly Digestible Salt Tolerant Alfalfa FD 9  Hi-Gest 660 Highly Digestible Salt Tolerant Alfalfa FD 6  AFX 779 Hi-Ton Performance Alfalfa

Alforex® Hi-Salt Salinity Tolerant Alfalfa

Alforex has developed salinity tolerant alfalfa varieties that reduce the impact of salinity by 2.0 to 3.0 soil electrical conductivity (EC) points. For a field with EC measurements approaching EC 4.0, the expected seedling mortality is 35% and yield may be reduced by 15% for conventional alfalfa. Where as planting a Hi-Salt salinity tolerant alfalfa can reduce losses to a negligible amount.** In addition, in fields with even higher levels of salinity, planting varieties with the salinity tolerant trait have allowed producers to grow alfalfa in areas where it was thought to be impossible.

Hi-Salt salinity tolerant alfalfa varieties, like PGI 908-S, CISCO II, AFX 457 and Rugged offer growers a new tool for production regions affected by salinity. These varieties raise the salinity threshold over unimproved varieties to maximize seasonal forage yield.

Soil salinity’s impact on yield

Salinity is a natural byproduct of irrigated and dryland agriculture in low rainfall areas. Over time, soluble salts move upward in the soil profile. When rainfall or irrigation are not sufficient to leach accumulating soluble salts from the root zone salinity rises. As a result, the rise in salinity begins to interfere with crop growth. 

Salinity of soil and irrigation water is usually measured and expressed as Electrical Conductivity (EC). Soil with an EC range of less than 1.0 will have little effect on germination or yield.  For every EC point above a variety’s salinity threshold, yield decreases by 7.5%.*

Validating Salt Tolerance

The North American Alfalfa Improvement Conference (NAAIC) has developed two standardized test for salt tolerance in alfalfa:

  • Germination salt tolerance
  • Forage production under salt stress


To be considered germination salt tolerant the salt tolerance of a variety has to be similar to the tolerance of the check variety used in the NAAIC Standard Test. Like wise, to be considered forage production salt tolerant, a variety under saline stress has to be similar to the tolerant check variety used in the NAAIC Standard Test.

Hi-Salt Designation

Alforex Seeds alfalfa varieties that carry the Hi-Salt designation have germination salt tolerance with several that also carry the forage production salt tolerance. An alfalfa variety with both germination and forage production tolerance is recommended for soils with ECs exceeding 2. Hi-Salt varieties are making a difference for growers with salinity issues. These varieties are pushing acceptable yields further into the hot spots, negating the effects of low-level germination and yield losses. They enable the grower to better utilize available irrigation water. Hi-Salt varieties were developed from top performing alfalfa varieties and a yield drag has not been seen on non-saline soils where the variety is adapted.


Alfalfa Management Guide for Saline Soils

Download our Management Guide for more information on growing alfalfa in saline soils.

Additional Resources:


* Maas,E.V. 1984. Salt Tolerance of plants. In Handbook of Plant Science in Agriculture (ed). B.R. Christie CRC Press Inc.

** Benes, S., et. al., What Is The Ability Of Alfalfa To Sustain Saline Conditions? In Proceedings, 2014 California Alfalfa, Forage, and Grain Symposium,Long Beach, CA, 10-12 December, 2014. UC Cooperative Extension, Plant Sciences Department, University of California, Davis, CA 95616. (See http://alfalfa.ucdavis.edu for this and other Alfalfa Symposium Proceedings.)