The primary focus of the Forage Breeding Project is breeding and genetic research on alfalfa to improve yield, quality, and persistence. Additionally, the project is also responsible for evaluating legume and grass cultivars for forage yield and quality, which consists of harvesting 4,000 – 5,000 plots at least three times per growing season.
In addition to the more traditional “forages-as-feed” research, the project has evaluated perennial grasses and legumes as feedstocks for biofuel production.
Yield Testing Program
Dr. Julie Hansen leads the Forage evaluation part of the project in which legumes and grasses are tested in Ithaca and around the state. Forage Yield Summaries and Trial Applications are available for download.
Perennial Field Crop Evaluation for Biofuel Production
Led by Dr. Donald Viands, with funding from the NY Farm Viability Institute and the Northern NY Agricultural Development Program, the goal of this program was to define diverse and ecologically-friendly sources of lignocellulosic feedstocks for New York's fast-growing ethanol production industry.
Multistate Project NE-1710: Improving Forage and Bioenergy Crops for Better Adaptation, Resilience, and Flexibility
The Forage Breeding Project is involved in NE-1710: Breeding and Genetics of Forage Crops to Improve Productivity, Quality, and Industrial Uses.
Multistate Project NE-1710 is a cooperative research project among perennial forage breeders in North America. There are four main objectives:
- Breeding crops with higher forage yield, improved forage quality for livestock production, longevity, and resistance or tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress conditions to provide more economical food production.
- Developing forage crops that will be productive under abiotic stresses, including drought, flooding, cold and warm temperatures, and soil salinity.
- Developing cultivars with improved biomass and quality, with improved resistance or tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress conditions. Research will include: improved seed germination, seedling vigor, biomass production, disease and insect resistance, etc., across multiple environments, especially on marginal soils where these species are likely to be used without competing with food crops.
- Improving the yield, nutritional quality, and storability of forage crops to ensure an ample supply of good quality feed to animals, an essential step in securing the food chain to the consumer.
Research Project Descriptions
Surya Acharya (LRC, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada) surya.acharya [at] agr.gc.ca
Brian Baldwin (Mississippi State Univ.) bsb2 [at] msstate.edu
Bill Biligetu (SRC, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada) bill.biligetu [at] usask.ca
Arvid Boe (South Dakota State Univ.) arvid.boe [at] sdstate.edu
Charlie Brummer (UC Davis) ecbrummer [at] ucdavis.edu
Yves Castonguay (AAFC, St. Foy, Quebec, QC) yves.castonguay [at] agr.gc.ca
Annie Claessens (AAFC, St. Foy, Quebec, QC) annie.claessens [at] agr.gc.ca
Bruce Coulman (SRC, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada) bruce.coulman [at] usask.ca
Nancy Ehlke (Univ. Minnesota) nancy [at] umn.edu
Michael Fitzner (USDA-CSREES) mfitzner [at] csrees.usda.gov
Andy Hopkins (Noble Foundation) AAHopkins [at] Noble.org
Zulfi Jahnufer (AgResearch, NZ ) zulfi.jahufer [at] agresearch.co.nz
Nitya Khanal (SRC, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada) nitya.khanal [at] usask.ca
Maria Monteros (Noble Foundation) mjmonteros [at] noble.org
Jesse Morrison (Mississippi State Univ.) jim46 [at] msstate.edu
Ivan Mott (USDA-ARS) ivan.mott [at] ars.usda.gov
Yousef Papadopoulos (CLRC, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada) yousef.papadopoulos [at] agr.gc.ca
Michael Peel (FRRL, USDA-ARS) mike.peel [at] ars.usda.gov
Tim Phillips (Univ. of Kentucky) tphillip [at] uky.edu
Heathcliffe Riday (USDA-ARS, WI) heathcliffe.riday [at] ars.usda.gov
Joseph Robins (USDA-ARS) Joseph.Robins [at] ars.usda.gov
Donn Vellekson (Univ. of Minnesota) velle001 [at] umn.edu
Don Viands (Admin. Advisor, Cornell Univ.) donald.viands [at] cornell.edu
NIMSS web site