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Studying alfalfa autotoxicity

November 28, 2023
By Cameron Rudolph | Michigan AgBio Research

A multi-institutional research team led by Michigan State University has received a $946,349 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to explore alfalfa autotoxicity. The award is within NIFA’s Alfalfa Seed and Forage Systems program.

The project is led by Kim Cassida, an associate professor in the MSU Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences and MSU Extension forage specialist. Other researchers include:

  • Sarah Lebeis, an assistant professor in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences.
  • Paige Baisley, a graduate student in Cassida’s lab.
  • Virginia Moore, an assistant professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University.

According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, alfalfa is the nation’s third most valuable field crop at roughly $8.7 billion per year. While alfalfa has many uses, it’s most often grown for animal agriculture forage due to its nutrient-rich profile.

Like any other crop, alfalfa faces insect and diseases challenges, but current varieties are exceptionally hardy and able to withstand a variety of environmental pressures. Its most significant threat may be itself. | READ MORE


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