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Is it time to redesign the forage variety testing model?  Public variety testing of forage crops like alfalfa, clovers, and grasses was initiated by land grant universities in the 1900s to generate objective yield comparisons under controlled growing conditions in different parts of the USA. Farmers and consultants use public test results to choose the best suited varieties for a region, forage breeders use results to inform genetic improvement, and seed distributors use results to drive marketing. In the original model, breeders, seed distributors, and universities shared the costs of testing. Unfortunately,  state funding for public tests has declined while costs of testing have risen, and many universities have discontinued forage testing. The situation is reaching a critical point where the few remaining tests may not generate enough information to be useful to stakeholders.

AFGC is conducting this survey in partnership with the forage seed industry to gather information on how forage variety testing is used by the various segments of the industry. Results will be used to explore possible structural changes that can save the public forage variety test from extinction while continuing to provide data useful to everyone.

Please fill out our survey. It will only take a few minutes of your time and you will thank yourself the next time you are able to compare forage varieties and make a choice based on objective performance data.
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