Despite dramatic claims, Roundup Ready® alfalfa can be grown with organic and conventional alfalfa without impacting them. Pollen flow (or drift) in alfalfa and hay production is well-understood and has been researched by public and private institutions for more than 25 years.
Here are the facts:
- The overwhelming majority of alfalfa acres (99%) produce only forage, which means farmers harvest their fields before any significant flowering occurs. As a result, the risk of pollen drift is severely limited. Monsanto product stewardship policies require farmers planting Roundup Ready alfalfa harvest the crop at or before this point in the blooming process.
- Alfalfa flowers do not shed pollen to the wind. They are pollinated exclusively by only a few species of bees – which are deliberately introduced and managed by seed producers.
- The National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance (NAFA) has studied and developed extensive best practices for farmers to use in managing Roundup Ready alfalfa when in the proximity of conventional or organic alfalfa. This includes building in border areas of other vegetation, rotating crops on a regular basis and eliminating nearby “wild” alfalfa (in ditches, roadways, abandoned fields, etc.)
- Because of well-established techniques used by farmers, different varieties of alfalfa have successfully coexisted in fields for decades. These same techniques also help maintain integrity among conventional, organic and Roundup Ready varieties.