Handling Roundup Ready Alfalfa
Because of some legal requirements, Roundup Ready alfalfa has again become a regulated article, forcing growers who already planted the crop to take special precautions that prevent any mixing or spread of this genetically modified product.
One requirement is that any equipment used to mow, rake, bale, merge, stack, or transport Roundup Ready alfalfa must be thoroughly cleaned in the field before moving to non-Roundup Ready alfalfa. If you use a custom operator for any of these practices, you must tell them before hand which fields contain Roundup Ready alfalfa so they can follow these procedures.
Another requirement is to clearly label every single bale made of Roundup Ready alfalfa and notify any hay buyers that the hay you are selling is Roundup Ready.
One step some farmers are considering to reduce the challenges these regulations cause is to call all their alfalfa Roundup Ready, even if some fields are not. This step may enable them to eliminate all the extra cleaning between fields because cleaning is not required when moving from one Roundup Ready field to another. And if you feed and use all the alfalfa you grow on your own farm, keeping the different types separated is not necessary since it is alright to co-mingle the different types as animal feed. However, be careful if you take this step because you cannot reverse your claims at a later date nor can you sell any alfalfa and claim it is non-Roundup Ready. Like it or not, we will have to live with these regulations for at least a couple years, so determine how you will meet them.
[August 14th, 2007]
Dr. Bruce Anderson, Professor of Agronomy
Agronomy & Horticulture, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Lincoln, NE