During 1988-90, burr medic (Medicago polymorpha) cvv. Circle Valley, Serena and/or Santiago were grown in field trials in which plots were sown with healthy seed or seed that carried varying levels of infection with alfalfa mosaic virus (AMV). Seed-infected plants were the primary source for subsequent virus spread by aphids. Levels of AMV infection normally reached 80-100% in swards sown with infected seed whether they were mown, grazed or not defoliated, most spread occurring late in the growing season. Infection of harvested seed was often less than in seed sown. However, in self-regenerated grazed swards AMV spread earlier and infection in harvested seed was up to 10 times greater than in seed before regeneration. In two trials sown in 1988, plots were mown or left uncut; AMV infection decreased herbage yields by 13-35% while seed yields were decreased significantly (by 7-30%) in one of the two trails. When one of these trials was cropped with barley in 1989 but allowed to regenerate in 1990 and grazed, herbage yield fell by 5-15% and seed yield by 2-29% due to AMV infection. In a trial sown in 1989 in which some plots were grazed and others not, AMV infection decreased herbage and seed yields by 27-32% and 21-29% respectively. In a similar grazing trial sown in 1990, AMV infection decreased herbage daily growth rates by 16-42% and seed yield sometimes by as much as 32%. Seed harvested from plots sown with infected seed was normally smaller than seed from plots sown with healthy seed. AMV-infected swards were established in 1987, allowed to regenerate in 1988-91 and grazed. With cvv. Circle Valley and Serena, AMV was readily detected each year in foliage and was also found in seeds.