Nineteen alfalfa varieties of seven different fall dormancy (FD) classes (2 to 8) over three years in five different eco-agricultural areas with mild climates in Henan Province of China was studied. The results showed that almost all of the varieties exhibited nearly perfect survival rates, while the variety ‘Siriver’ had a slightly lower survival rate of 98.5%. The variety ‘WL414’ (FD 6) produced the greatest average dry matter (DM) yield across the regions, while the lowest yield was found in ‘Golden Empress’ (FD 2). In addition, the total dry matter (DM) yields of the three years were affected by location and variety and there was significant location × variety interaction. The FD classes and total DM yields were significantly correlated, indicating that FD class should be used as one of the main criterion for alfalfa variety improvement or introduction of new varieties into a temperate region, such as Central China. Beside, special attention should also be paid to the selection of varieties suitable to local conditions because other factors have important influence on DM yields, including the characteristics of a varieties and environmental conditions.
Key words: Alfalfa varieties, fall dormancy, dry matter yield, temperate regions.
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