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Dr. Don Viands and Dr. Julie Hansen in an alfalfa nursery

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.

Multistate Project NE-1710

The Forage Breeding Project is involved in NE-1710: Breeding and Genetics of Forage Crops to Improve Productivity, Quality, and Industrial Uses.  Learn more about the NE-1710 project.

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.