The UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center announces publication of two new informational resources, Crop Biotechnology: Feeds for Livestock and Roundup Ready Alfalfa: An Emerging Technology.

Crop Biotechnology: Feeds for Livestock

Most crops developed through biotechnology that are on the market today provide farmers with increased convenience and product quality while requiring fewer chemical inputs. According to the USDA Economic Research Service, herbicide- and insect-resistant biotech varieties accounted for about 85 percent of U.S. soybean acreage and 45 percent of corn acreage in 2003.

Livestock eat the meal from approximately 70 percent of the soybeans and consume 80 percent of the corn grain and silage grown in the United States, making the livestock industry a major user of biotech crops. Plant breeders are concentrating on enhancing grains or protein sources to produce feedstuffs that will improve feed utilization, performance, product quality, and health of livestock while reducing production costs and environmental impacts.

It is likely that biotech crops of the future will play an important role in this arena. This publication discusses potential applications and safety issues associated with such products.

Roundup Ready Alfalfa: An Emerging Technology

Glyphosate-resistant crops, also known as “Roundup Ready” (RR), have become an important part of cropping systems in the United States. In 2004, approximately 13 percent of corn, 85 percent of soybean, and 60 percent of cotton acreage was occupied by RR varieties.

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is the nation's third most important crop in economic value, and it occupies more than 22 million acres in the United States. It is considered the premier forage crop. It is the primary feed for dairy production, and is commonly fed to beef cattle, sheep, and horses. Alfalfa is also used for greenchop and silage in many areas.

California is the leading producer of alfalfa hay in the United States, followed by Wisconsin, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Idaho. Roundup Ready technology has been successfully incorporated into alfalfa and is scheduled for commercial release in 2005. This publication reviews the important attributes and issues pertaining to RR technology as applied to alfalfa and the potential impacts of this technology on production systems and markets.

Both of these publications are available at no cost from: http://sbc.ucdavis.edu/Publications/ABC_Series.htm To request more information call (530) 754-7333 or visit the web site at: sbc.ucdavis.edu.