General and Specific Crop Standards


Special Requirements and Standards
Region of Adaptation

The region of adaptation for seed production of a particular alfalfa variety shall be recommended by the originating plant breeder and shall conform to the requirements of the National Alfalfa Variety Review Board.

Seed Classes

Only the Foundation and Certified classes of alfalfa seed are recognized in Arizona.

Age of Stand Limitation

The originating plant breeder of a variety or a designee shall specify any limitation on the number of years that a given field may produce the Foundation or Certified classes of seed. Certified seed production outside a variety's region of adaptation shall not exceed four years if not otherwise specified.

Planting in Rows

Foundation class seed production fields shall be planted in rows. It is recommended that Certified class fields also be planted in rows for ease in controlling weeds and other crop kinds.

General Field Standards

Land History

Land planted for Foundation class seed production shall not have grown any variety of alfalfa during the previous four (4) years.

Land planted for Certified class seed production shall not have grown any variety of alfalfa during the previous two (2) years. 

A field must have been free of volunteer alfalfa plants during the year prior to establishment of any alfalfa crop to be certified.

No manure or other contaminating amendments shall be applied nor shall sheep be allowed to graze during the year previous to seeding or during the established and productive life of the stand.

Field Inspection

At least one field inspection shall be conducted during the full bloom or pollination stage.


A field producing Foundation class seed shall be a minimum of 900 feet distant from any other variety of alfalfa or fields of the same variety that do not meet varietal purity requirements for certification 

The standard isolation distance requirement is 165 feet from another variety for a field producing Certified class seed. Modification of the isolation requirement for the Certified class is based on the size of the field to be certified and the percentage of the field's area that is located within 165 feet of another variety of alfalfa. If ten percent (10%) or less of the acreage of the field to be certified falls within the 165-foot "isolation zone", the only isolation required shall be a ten-foot separation. If more than ten percent (10%) of the field to be certified is within the zone, that acreage in excess of 10% that is located along the common border between the fields shall be clearly identified and shall not be harvested as Certified seed. The area of a certified field that falls within the isolation zone is determined by multiplying the length of the common border between the fields times the average width of the portion of the certified field that is less than 165 feet from the offending field.

Isolation between fields producing Foundation and Certified seed of the same variety shall be a minimum of ten feet in all instances.

Specific Field Standards

The maximum permitted frequencies of other alfalfa varieties and off-type plants that can be differentiated from the variety being inspected shall be:

Foundation class production - 1:1,000

Certified class production - 1:200

The maximum numbers of sweetclover plants permitted are "None" in a Foundation field and 10 per acre in a Certified field.

Seed Standard For Alfalfa

Seed Factor Standard - Percentage (%)



Pure Seed (Minimum)
Inert Matter (Maximum)
Noxious Weeds
Other weed seeds (Maximum)*
Other varieties and off-types (Maximum)
Other crop kinds (Maximum)*
Germination and hard seed (Minimum)

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