Research projects

Five new research projects funded through NAFA’s alfalfa levy

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The Alfalfa Checkoff Program, also known as the US 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 have been the recipients of funding generated by the levy, which is now in its sixth year of improving alfalfa research across the country.

“It is encouraging to see new researchers submitting proposals with each new round of funding for NAFA’s Alfalfa Checkoff program,” said Beth Nelson, President of NAFA. “We envisioned this program as one that would reinvigorate alfalfa and forage research and that is exactly what we saw.”

NAFA’s Request for Proposals for the Alfalfa Levy generated research projects requesting a total of over $1.1 million from a wide geographic area, demonstrating an ongoing demand among researchers for funding alfalfa research. 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 to predict alfalfa yield and quality to improving the irrigated alfalfa yield and water use efficiency – all aimed at improving alfalfa and alfalfa seed production nationwide. Research projects in California, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota and Virginia have been funded. They include: (project objectives can be viewed on the

  • The relationship between pass rate and degradation rate of alfalfa and its effect on digestibility
    Gonzalo Ferreira, Virginia Tech
  • Alfalfa Value-Added Traits: Cultivar Selection for Beneficial Biochemicals
    Jo Heuschele, USDA-ARS (St. Paul, MN)
  • Improving the Alfalfa Forage System by Addressing Boron and Sulfur Deficiencies
    Bruno Pedreira, Kansas State University
  • Carbon Footprint of High Yield Irrigated Alfalfa Production in California
    Cameron Pittelkow, University of California-Davis
  • Do insect-borne viruses affect forage alfalfa yield and quality?
    Erik Wenninger, University of Idaho

NAFA’s review committee selected projects that best met established research priorities, including: consistency of feed value (ie harvest, storage, digestibility, sampling); improved forage quality; new uses and market development; and performance improvements. Proposals were scored based on industry needs (alignment with USAFRI research priorities); scientific merit; direct benefit to farmers, cost-effectiveness; and partnerships.

The Alfalfa Checkoff call for proposals is published twice a year, in May with proposals due in June and in November with proposals due in December. Final reports keep coming in and reveal important data and information regarding alfalfa seed and forage production and are available at Be sure to bookmark this page and keep monitoring it for continued results throughout the year.

NAFA strongly encourages alfalfa growers to patronize easy-to-take alfalfa seed brands to support alfalfa harvesting:

  • Partners Alfalfa – S&W Seed
  • Alforex Seeds
  • American alfalfa
  • Channel
  • Dyna Gro
  • hybrid fontanel
  • Forage first
  • FS Brand Alfalfa
  • Golden Country Seed
  • Hubner seed
  • Innvictis Seed Solutions
  • Jung Seed Genetics
  • Kruger Seeds
  • Latham Hi-Tech Seeds
  • Inherited seeds
  • Lewis hybrids
  • Pioneer
  • Grassland Stream Seed
  • Rea hybrids
  • Speciality
  • Stewart
  • stone seed
  • Alfalfa WL