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NAFA funds five research projects to address industry priorities

Published on 29 May 2018

Alfalfa researchers were the beneficiaries of the National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance's (NAFA) second round of research funding through the U.S. Alfalfa Farmer Research Initiative (USAFRI), a farmer-funded investment in alfalfa-related research better known as the Alfalfa Checkoff.

"We are extremely pleased with the response to our second request for proposals and the continued results of our checkoff funding," said Beth Nelson, NAFA president. "Our review committee focused checkoff funding on those projects it believed to have the greatest potential for positively impacting alfalfa farmers' future."

NAFA's USAFRI request for proposals generated 15 research projects from a broad geographic area, stretching from Georgia to Washington to Arizona, demonstrating the continued demand among researchers for alfalfa-related research funding. Proposals addressed a wide range of topics intended to drive innovation and profitability in the alfalfa industry – from integrated pest management and pollinator protection to improving alfalfa silage fermentation. Research projects in Arkansas, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota and New Mexico were funded. They include:

• Use of Alfalfa in Crop Rotations to Control Herbicide-Resistant Pigweed
—John Jennings, University of Arkansas

• Do FAE-Producing Microbial Inoculants Improve Fermentation and Improve Digestibility of Stored Alfalfa Forage?
—Dennis Hancock, University of Georgia

• Developing a Soil Bioassay for Alfalfa Autotoxicity
—Kim Cassida, Michigan State University

• There's an App for That! Validating Real-Time Assessment of Alfalfa Nutritive Value
—Krishona Martinson, Craig Sheaffer, University of Minnesota

• Evaluation of the Efficacy of Herbicide Tank-Mixes and Sequential Applications for the Control of Plantain (Plantago ssp.) in Alfalfa
—Leslie Beck, New Mexico State University

Project objectives can be viewed on the NAFA website.

Project funding was determined by a NAFA board-appointed panel, which reviewed, scored and discussed proposals to determine which best met NAFA's established research priorities, including the following: emerging technology for use in alfalfa forage; yield improvements; fertility, soil management, soil health, macro/micronutrients; new uses and market development; forage quality improvements; feed value consistency (i.e., digestibility, sampling); and agronomic management. Additionally, proposals were scored on methodology and analytical approaches, industry need, cost effectiveness, partnerships and outreach.

NAFA strongly encourages alfalfa farmers to patronize checkoff-participating alfalfa seed brands to support the U.S. Alfalfa Farmer Research Initiative. A current list of checkoff participating marketers can be found at the NAFA website. (If your favorite alfalfa brand is not on the list, contact NAFA at (651) 484-3888 for information on how a seed marketer can become a participating brand.)  end mark

—From National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance news release

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