The U.S. Alfalfa Farmer Research Initiative, better known as the Alfalfa Checkoff, recently awarded the fifth round of funding to projects submitted by researchers from across the country.
“NAFA’s Alfalfa Checkoff Review Committee focused funding on research projects which addressed a diverse range of topics within the industry,” said Beth Nelson, NAFA president. “It’s gratifying to see the program bringing new researchers into the alfalfa community.”
NAFA’s Alfalfa Checkoff request for proposals generated 16 research projects. Proposals addressed a wide range of topics intended to drive innovation and profitability in the alfalfa industry - from testing the value of genomic selection in breeding populations to improving our understanding of Aphanomyces root rot in alfalfa. Research projects in California, Kentucky, New York, Washington, and Wisconsin were funded. They include:
- Maximizing Alfalfa’s Yield Potential, Charles Brummer, University of California-Davis;
- Forage Production of Alfalfa Established in Silage Corn vs. Conventional Production Systems, John Grabber, USDA-ARS, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center;
- Developing Practical Phosphorus & Potassium Tissue Test Recommendations & Utilizing Struvite in Modern Alfalfa Systems III, Steve Norberg, Washington State University;
- Evaluating Approaches to High-Throughput Phenotyping & Genotyping for Genomic Selection in Alfalfa, Kelly Robbins, Cornell University;
- New Approaches to Improve Alfalfa Round Bale Storage, Kevin Shinners, Matthew Digman, University of Wisconsin-Madison;
- “Grazing Alfalfa” Publication Update, Ray Smith, University of Kentucky;
- Improving Our Understanding of Aphanomyces Root Rot of Alfalfa, Kiersten Wise, University of Kentucky.
The NAFA review committee selected projects that best met established research priorities, including: new and updated NAFA publications; agronomic management; feed value consistency; forage quality improvements; new uses and market development; fertility, soil management, soil health, macro/micro nutrients; and yield improvements. Proposals were scored on:
- methodology/analytical approaches;
- industry need;
- cost effectiveness/budget/matching funds;
- partnerships; and
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 are available at http://alfalfa.org/USAFRI_FinalReports.php.