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ARS Home » Midwest Area » St. Paul, Minnesota » Plant Science Research » Research » Research Project #442572

Research Project: Enhancing Winter Survival and Forage Yield in Alfalfa

Location: Plant Science Research

Project Number: 5062-12210-004-056-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2022
End Date: Aug 31, 2025

Identify alfalfa plants with superior winter survival and biomass yield, associate DNA markers with winter survival traits, and develop germplasm with enhanced winter survival.

Alfalfa accessions from the USDA alfalfa collection and commercial cultivars are established in multiple locations that experience high levels of winter injury of alfalfa. Remote sensing (Stress-cam, computer vision, an image analysis) will be used to phenotype plants throughout the year. Assays will be developed for controlled environment testing of alfalfa plants to augment field selection. Plants with superior cold tolerance, late spring emergence, and root traits that benefit winter survival will be genotyped and used as training populations for genomic selection methods and machine learning. Plants with superior traits will be inter-crossed to produce selected populations and retested for cold tolerance and winter survival.