All equipment used for the production and transportation of Roundup Ready alfalfa must be cleaned before it's used for conventional alfalfa, and the transgenic hay or silage must be segregated and clearly labeled. Those are among the Roundup Ready alfalfa production requirements outlined in a July 12 administrative order issued by USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The order was mandated in the May 3 permanent injunction that outlawed the planting of Roundup Ready alfalfa until USDA completes an environmental impact statement. The judge in the case ruled that existing Roundup Ready alfalfa fields can continue to be grown, harvested and sold, provided safeguards are implemented to minimize commingling of Roundup Ready and conventional alfalfa.

Before moving mowing, raking, merging, baling or stacking equipment from a Roundup Ready to a non-Roundup Ready field, growers and custom harvesters must "sweep, blow with forced air, or wash exterior parts clean," the order says. The same procedure is sufficient for choppers; no internal cleaning is needed. For square balers, the first three bales made in a non-Roundup Ready field must be removed and stored with Roundup Ready alfalfa from the previous field. Wagons and trucks used to haul the crop must be swept clean after they're unloaded, and buyers must be notified if the hay or silage they're buying contains Roundup Ready alfalfa. To read the order, which includes detailed instructions for cleaning Roundup Ready alfalfa seed-handling equipment, click: www.aphis.usda.gov/biotechnology/alfalfa.shtml. Then scroll down to "View the July 12, 2007 APHIS Administrative Order."