USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced the deregulation of the forage industry’s first reduced-lignin trait. The announcement was published in the Nov. 10 Federal Register.

The alfalfa, known as HarvXtra™ alfalfa, was developed through a strategic partnership between Forage Gentics International (FGI), The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation and the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, in conjunction with Monsanto Company. It 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.

The 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 is not currently available for sale, and is still pending regulatory approvals in key export markets with functioning regulatory systems. Once marketed, it will be sold in a trait stack with Genuity® Roundup Ready® alfalfa.

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