Alfalfa is a legume grown primarily for animal feed in the domestic market1. Since alfalfa requires bees for pollination, there is concern about the effect that genetically modified varieties will have on insect populations that are already declining. Though alfalfa is commonly used for growing sprouts, that application is not allowed by the biotech company that patented genetically modified alfalfa and controls its use 2.

Herbicide Tolerant Insect resistant Disease resistant


One genetically modified variety of alfalfa has been developed to produce less lignin, a cellular polymer that is difficult for animals to digest.

United States of America (approximately 10% of alfalfa acreage in 2014)3 Canada (not approved for commercial production, unknown acreage of test plots)4

  1. Putnam, Daniel H., Bill Matthews, and Daniel A. Summer. “Alfalfa and Grass Hay Exports Decline after Seven Years of Dramatic Growth.” Alfalfa and Forage News. University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 28 Apr. 2015. Web.
  2. “2015 Technology Use Guide.” 2015 TUG (n.d.): n. pag. Monsanto Corporation, 2015. Web.
  3. “Biotech Crop Annual Update: Alfalfa.” (n.d.): n. pag. International Service for the Acquisition Of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA). Web.
  4. Blair, Jennifer. “Forage Seed Industry Wants Western Canada to Be a GM Alfalfa-free Zone.” Alberta Farmer Express. Alberta Farmer Express, 06 Apr. 2015. Web.