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Alfalfa Checkoff funds 9 research projects

Published on 07 August 2017

Nine researchers were the beneficiaries of the first-ever U.S. Alfalfa Farmer Research Initiative (USAFRI), a farmer-funded investment in alfalfa-related research.

“We are extremely pleased with the response to our inaugural request for proposals and the results of our first round of checkoff funding,” said Beth Nelson, National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance (NAFA) president. “We concentrated funding on projects we believe will have a beneficial economic impact on alfalfa farmers across the country.”

Better known as the Alfalfa Checkoff, NAFA’s USAFRI initial request for proposals garnered an impressive response, generating a whopping 34 research proposals requesting more than $1.4 million, demonstrating the high demand among researchers for alfalfa-related research funding. Proposals covered a wide range of topics intended to drive innovation and profitability in the alfalfa industry, as well as a broad geographic area. Research projects in California, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Washington and Wisconsin are being funded. Project objectives can be viewed on the NAFA website:

  • Maximizing alfalfa’s yield potential
    • Charles Brummer, University of California – Davis
  • Developing high yielding and high-quality varieties and cropping systems for high salinity conditions
    • Dan Putnam, University of California – Davis
  • Enhancing alfalfa yields and stand life by improving management of seed rot and seedling damping off
    • Deborah Samac, USDA Agricultural Research Service
  • Evaluating progress in alfalfa forage quality improvement
    • Craig Sheaffer, University of Minnesota
  • Impact of poultry litter application on yield and quality of alfalfa grown in Mississippi
    • Brett Rushing, Mississippi State University
  • Evaluation of the efficacy of various herbicides for control of broadleaf and buckhorn plantain in alfalfa
    • Leslie Beck, New Mexico State University
  • Developing practical phosphorus and potassium tissue test recommendations and utilizing struvite in modern alfalfa systems
    • Steve Norberg, Washington State University
  • Integrated pest management and pollinator protection on alfalfa produced for seed
    • Doug Walsh, Washington State University
  • The impact of tedding on the economic production of alfalfa silage
    • Matt Digman, University of Wisconsin – River Falls

Project funding was determined by a NAFA board-appointed panel, which reviewed, scored and discussed proposals to determine which projects best met NAFA’s established research priorities, including: yield improvement; cutting management strategies; fertility, soil management, soil health, macro/micro nutrients; forage quality improvements; weed management strategies; and insect management strategies. Additionally, proposals were scored on methodology and analytical approaches, industry need, cost effectiveness/budget/matching funds, partnerships and outreach.  end mark

—From National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance news release

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