First Reduced Lignin Alfalfa Trait Deregulated by USDA

06:46PM Nov 10, 2014
Alfalfa Jason Lugo2
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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 is not currently available for sale and is still pending regulatory approvals in key export markets with functioning regulatory systems.

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 FGIThe 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.”

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About Forage Genetics International

For the past 50 years, Forage Genetics International ( has led the forage industry with innovative genetic discoveries, variety developments and cutting-edge product introductions. Our relentless drive for improved forage production is behind our unprecedented advancements. As the industry’s leading provider of forage solutions, we breed, develop and produce premier alfalfa seed. Our highly experienced staff delivers packaging, distribution and training services to complement our premium product offerings — all customized to meet the varied needs of our customers.


HarvXtra™ is a trademark of Forage Genetics International, LLC 

Genuity® and Roundup Ready® are registered trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC. Export and planting restrictions apply, see for more information