Sept. 9, 2022 08:37 AM

Research Projects Funded from California to Virginia

This item has been supplied by a forage marketer and has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hay & Forage Grower.

The Alfalfa Checkoff program, also known as the U.S. Alfalfa Farmer Research Initiative (USAFRI), awarded funding to five projects in its recent review of proposals submitted by researchers in response to NAFA’s latest request for proposals. Researchers from California to Virginia were the beneficiaries of funding generated by the checkoff, now in its sixth year of enhancing alfalfa research across the country.

“It’s encouraging to see new researchers submitting proposals with each new round of funding for NAFA’s Alfalfa Checkoff program,” said Beth Nelson, NAFA President. “We envisioned this program as one which would re-energize research into alfalfa and forages and that’s exactly what we’ve seen.”

NAFA’s Alfalfa Checkoff request for proposals generated research projects requesting a total of more than $1.1 million from a broad geographic area demonstrating continued demand among researchers for alfalfa research funding. Proposals addressed a wide range of topics intended to drive innovation and profitability in the alfalfa industry - from developing an open-source web-based tool for predicting alfalfa yield and quality to improving irrigated alfalfa yield and water use efficiency - all intended to enhance alfalfa and alfalfa seed production throughout the country. Research projects in California, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, and Virginia were funded. They include: (project objectives can be viewed on the

  • The Relationship Between Passage Rate and Degradation Rate of Alfalfa and Its Effect on Digestibility
    Gonzalo Ferreira, Virginia Tech

  • Alfalfa Value-Added Characteristics: Screening Cultivars for Beneficial Biochemical Compounds
    Jo Heuschele, USDA-ARS (St. Paul, MN)

  • Improving Alfalfa Forage System by Addressing Boron and Sulfur Deficiency
    Bruno Pedreira, Kansas State University

  • Carbon Footprint of High-Yielding Irrigated Alfalfa Production in California
    Cameron Pittelkow, University of California-Davis

  • Do Insect-Transmitted Viruses Affect Forage Alfalfa Yield and Quality?
    Erik Wenninger, University of Idaho

The NAFA review committee selected projects that best met established research priorities, including: feed value consistency (i.e., harvest, storage, digestibility, sampling); forage quality improvements; new uses and market development; and yield improvements. Proposals were scored on industry need (alignment with USAFRI research priorities); scientific merit; direct benefit to farmers, cost effectiveness; and partnerships.

The Alfalfa Checkoff call for proposals is released twice a year, in May with proposals due in June, and in November with proposals due in December. Final reports continue to roll in and reveal important data and information with regard to alfalfa seed and forage production and are available at Be sure to bookmark this page and continue to monitor it for continuing results throughout the year.

NAFA strongly encourages alfalfa farmers to patronize checkoff-facilitating alfalfa seed brands to support the Alfalfa Checkoff:

  • Alfalfa Partners – S&W Seed
  • Alforex Seeds
  • America's Alfalfa
  • Channel
  • Dyna-Gro
  • Fontanelle Hybrids
  • Forage First
  • FS Brand Alfalfa
  • Gold Country Seed
  • Hubner Seed
  • Innvictis Seed Solutions
  • Jung Seed Genetics
  • Kruger Seeds
  • Latham Hi-Tech Seeds
  • Legacy Seeds
  • Lewis Hybrids
  • Pioneer
  • Prairie Creek Seed
  • Rea Hybrids
  • Specialty
  • Stewart
  • Stone Seed
  • W-L Alfalfas