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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Dairy Forage Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #357442

Research Project: Redesigning Forage Genetics, Management, and Harvesting for Efficiency, Profit, and Sustainability in Dairy and Bioenergy Production Systems

Location: Dairy Forage Research

Title: Self-pollination rates in Western U.S. alfalfa seed production fields

item Riday, Heathcliffe
item Brunet, Johanne
item BACHI, OLI - University Of California - Cooperative Extension Service
item WENGER, JACOB - California State University
item WALSH, DOUGLAS - Washington State University

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2019
Publication Date: 6/24/2019
Citation: Riday, H., Brunet, J., Bachi, O.G., Wenger, J., Walsh, D.B. 2019. Self-pollination rates in Western U.S. alfalfa seed production fields. EGF-EUCARPIA Joint Symposium, Zurich Switzerland 24 to 27 June 2019

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Previous research has shown that a proportion of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) seed produced in seed production fields is the result of self-pollination. In these studies, this rate has been measured to be around 30%. In this study we surveyed alfalfa seed production self-pollination rates in three major seed production areas of the United States: Imperial Valley, California; Central Valley, California; and Washington. In each of these regions seed was collected from actual commercial seed production fields and not experimental plots. In each field, eight seeds from forty individuals were sampled and using DNA marker comparisons between seed tissue and its maternal tissue, seed was classified as being the result of out-crossing or self-pollination. Based on this classification a field wide self-pollination rate was then estimated. Twenty four fields were analyzed. The average self-pollination rate was 13% with a standard deviation of 5.2% and with a maximum field self-pollination rate of 29.8% and a minimum field self-pollination rate of 6.7%. The median self-pollination rate was 11.9%. A log normal distribution provided the best distribution fit for the data. This study confirms that self-pollination occurs during alfalfa seed production at a lower rate. Future studies will determine if seed production field management practices influence alfalfa seed production self-pollination rates.