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Alfalfa is an important and broadly adapted forage crop that is planted for hay, pasture, and silage in more than 80 countries on 30-35 million hectares. However, livestock and forage production is being shifted to more marginal, less fertile agricultural soils as the world population increases.

Climate change is furthermore projected to further stress alfalfa production in areas where the crop is most important, such as in desert regions of Central Asia and northern Chile. As water becomes scarcer in these regions, the development of improved, drought-tolerant alfalfa varieties will be essential.

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