Point of attention during growing

Apart from choosing Yellow Jacket Rhizobium coated lucerne seed, the right soil type, optimal fertilising and correct harvesting methods will contribute to a high roughage yield.

Correct harvesting methods

Soil type

Lucerne thrives in well-drained soil with the correct acidity. Sandy soil must have a pH value higher than 5.5, and clay soil at least 6.0. Lucerne must not have been grown for one (in wet areas) to three (in dry areas) years. Good soil structure is advisable.

Fertilising and crop protection

Lucerne is a perennial crop. If the soil contains enough nitrogen at the time of sowing, there is no need to add extra nitrogen. Over time the crop itself will ensure nitrogen fixation from the air. Phosphate, sodium and potassium must be added based on soil analysis. Barenbrug lucerne seed is free from noxious weeds and scores well for nematode resistance. Disease and pest control are often easy to do with available resources. Because lucerne is susceptible to damage from traffic, it is important to leave the crops be as much as possible. When a lucerne plant dies, it will leave an open spot where weeds can get a chance.


Lucerne is mostly cut for making silage. Depending on the local climate, two up to five or more cuts are possible. In case of springtime sowing one less cutting must be taken into account. The best time for cutting is when five to ten per cent of the plants are flowering. The best cutting height is seven to ten centimetres. Lucerne is a broad-leafed crop, which means the choice of cutting machine is important. When handling is too intensive, too much leafy material is lost, at the expense of forage yield and quality.

Forage yield

In the first year the potential dry matter yield of Lucerne is six to nine tonnes per hectare. For the second and following years the dry matter yield is twelve to seventeen tonnes per hectare. These figures may vary per lucerne variety and regions.


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Barenbrug lucern varieties

Barenbrug has a widely extended Lucerne breeding program. Our program is running in Northern- France (Flemish types), Southern France (Mediterranean types), Romania (continental types) and Australia (non-dormant types). The main goal of Barenbrug Lucerne breeding is to obtain the maximum farm benefits from Lucerne. 








Figure 3: The lucerne dormancy classification in Europe



Table 2: Overview of Barenbrug lucerne varieties and dormancy class