Alfalfa Hay Seed Testing Update

Alfalfa Hay Seed Testing Update

Alfalfa Hay Seed Testing Update


I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.


The USDA has announced that they will not be taking any investigative action regarding the matter of the Washington farmer who complained recently that his alfalfa hay was rejected for export because it contained trace levels of a Roundup Ready trait. Mike Louisell, with the Washington State Department of Agriculture, says that WSDA testing on the alfalfa hay seed and plant samples supplied by the farmer has been completed.


LOUISELL: The Washington State Department of Agriculture seed program, which is stationed in Yakima, did do the testing. Our testing showed that there’s a low level presence of Roundup Ready genetic trait in the seed. But that these ranges were in acceptable ranges for much of the marketplace for hay - both in the export market and domestic.


Louisell reiterates that Roundup Ready alfalfa was approved for use by the USDA in 2011, both for domestic sales and export markets, and that there is no regulatory issue involving the WSDA and the farmer involved.


LOUISELL: As far as Washington State Department of Agriculture I think the great point we’d like to make is that we never were in an investigative mode, we were simply acting in “consumer protection” for farmers who may bring their seed to our lab to have it tested for any number of reasons that farmers want their seeds tested. And so that concludes our role in the matter as well.


While Roundup Ready alfalfa is USDA approved, many export customers do not accept it. Hay is a valuable crop for Washington. According to USDA statistics Washington’s 2012 hay crop was valued at $681 million. Prices for premium alfalfa hay range from $200 to $230 per ton.


That’s Washington Ag Today.


I’m Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.

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