Amanda Grev has taken her love of horses to the next level. Her research focuses on improving the production, quality and value of alfalfa through use of a reduced-lignin alfalfa variety.
“Lignin is an organic compound that provides structural support to the plant, strengthening the cell walls and allowing the plant to stand upright,” she says. “However, lignin is indigestible and reduces the digestibility and availability of nutrients to forage-eating animals.”
Her research focuses on newer alfalfa varieties with decreased lignin concentrations in comparison to traditional varieties. Reduced lignin concentrated alfalfa could offer a higher-quality, more digestible source of feed with increased nutrient availability.
“My research has the potential for substantial implications, not just for the animal industry, but also for alfalfa growers,” Grev says. “For horse owners, reduced lignin alfalfa could be a more nutritionally dense feed source, better able to support horses with increased nutrient requirements, such as equine athletes, broodmares or growing foals.”