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Experts Developing Drought-Tolerant Hay

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ Scientists in New Mexico are working to develop more drought-tolerant varieties of alfalfa.

A breakthrough would be welcome news to farmers and ranchers who are paying up to twice as much for hay now as they did a year ago.

Hay, including alfalfa, has been in short supply because of a drought in the Southwest.

New Mexico State University professor Ian Ray says two-thirds of hay produced in the U.S. is grown in drought-prone areas of the Great Plains or the western U.S.

Ray and his team have identified a series of DNA markers on alfalfa chromosomes that they believe play a key role in producing more alfalfa with less water. They are now working to breed those characteristics into alfalfa cultivars typically grown in New Mexico.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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Posted by on Jan 2 2012. Filed under News.

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