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With expected Environmental Protection Agency approval later this summer of Roundup Ready alfalfa, no-tillers will have a exciting new tool to add to their management arsenal. Having proven valuable with soybeans, corn, cotton, canola and other crops, adding the Roundup Ready technology to alfalfa offers many new forage cropping opportunities.
While the Roundup Ready trait was incorporated into existing varieties with other crops, a major difference with alfalfa is based on a forward breeding process. As a result, only new and more expensive varieties of alfalfa will carry the Roundup Ready technology.
Developed by Monsanto, the new alfalfa technology will be licensed to a number of alfalfa seed firms through Forage Genetics International. During the first year, it is anticipated that 1 million pounds of alfalfa seed will be available in fall dormancy 3 to fall dormancy 8 varieties.
Besides reducing the time needed for weed management, the system could eliminate the need for seeding companion crops with alfalfa for weed control purposes. Growers will also have a wider, more flexible time frame for seeding and weed control while avoiding crop rotation limitations that are often associated with the in-crop use of other herbicides.
During the late June Farm Progress Co. sponsored Hay Expo in Fredericksburg, Iowa, No-Till Farmer editors got a Roundup Ready alfalfa update from a number of suppliers.
Randy Welch sees this new development playing a key role in upgrading forages. The Eastern U.S. agronomist with Land O’Lakes in Madison, Wis., says this…