The forage industry’s first reduced lignin trait, known as HarvXtra alfalfa, has been deregulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This thorough deregulation process ensures that all advances are introduced to the market in a safe and responsible manner.  

HarvXtra alfalfa contains the biotechnology-derived trait developed to improve the quality of alfalfa compared to commercially available alfalfa harvested at the same growth stage by reducing the amount of lignin in the plant, while maintaining alfalfa’s important agronomic characteristics.

This technology was designed to ease the yield-versus-quality trade-off currently faced by alfalfa producers, by improving forage quality over a longer period. This provides growers with greater flexibility and a wider cutting window to maximize yield potential.

“HarvXtra alfalfa brings something truly unique to the industry” said Matt Fanta, president, Forage Genetics International (FGI). “While past and current efforts to improve the quality of alfalfa exist, this trait technology is the only advancement in alfalfa that truly moves the bar. We partnered with some of the best researchers in alfalfa to develop HarvXtra alfalfa and we are excited to bring it to market.”

HarvXtra alfalfa was developed through a strategic partnership between FGI, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation and the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center in conjunction with Monsanto Company. Scientists from these institutions explored alternative methods to improve the quality of alfalfa. The group determined a strategy using biotechnology techniques to modify lignin content and composition in alfalfa would provide the greatest benefit to farmers.

Jon Riley, Monsanto Specialty Crop Product Manager said, “HarvXtra alfalfa is the first biotech alfalfa trait for forage quality and we are very pleased to partner with FGI as part of the HarvXtra alfalfa development.  HarvXtra™ alfalfa will be sold in a trait stack with Genuity Roundup Ready alfalfa, offering producers new, valuable options as they manage their farming operations.”

HarvXtra alfalfa is not currently available for sale and is still pending regulatory approvals in key export markets with functioning regulatory systems.

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