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The Forage Seed Information Session was held in Saskatoon, SK on January 17, 2019. The session included reports on forage seed research and markets as well as the 13th Annual General Meeting of SFSDC. Speakers were:

Calvin Yoder
Calvin Yoder, AB Agriculture & Forestry.
Saskatoon, SK. Jan. 17, 2019.
Source: SFSDC

Calvin Yoder, Forage Seed Crops Agrologist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry in Spirit River AB provided an excellent talk on forage seed production and research. Calvin described the forage seed industry in the Peace River region with about $55.5 Million in farm-gate sales in 2017 from about 61.6 million pounds of seed. Creeping red fescue seed is the largest crop followed by Timothy, meadow and smooth bromegrasses, as well as alfalfa, alsike, red and sweet clovers.

Calvin has been testing herbicides on forage seed crops for their tolerance and weed control for many years to provide tools for growers. More recently he has been looking at plant growth regulators and is going to start looking at plant diseases in the near future. He described the results of his recent research program looking at pre-seed, post-emerge and fall applied herbicides. For example, he has learned that pre-seed applications on clovers should be made at least 2 days before seeding to reduce injury. He has seen good responses for reduced lodging and increased seed yields from plant growth regulators on Timothy and meadow bromegrass especially in wet years.

See Calvin’s presentation on this website under Resources - Production.

Jessica Pratchler
Jessica Pratchler, NARF. Saskatoon, SK.
Jan. 17, 2019. Source: SFSDC

Jessica Pratchler, Research Manager, Northeast Agriculture Research Foundation (NARF) reviewed two ADOPT projects including planting red and alsike clover with canola as a companion crop to measure its impact on clover seed production. Early results show higher clover seed yields without the canola companion crop. The second project included alternate row planting of meadow bromegrass and wheat for forage seed production. These projects received funding support from Saskatchewan Agriculture.

Jessica also reviewed the herbicide trials on established red and alsike clovers, slender wheatgrass and annual ryegrass. A nitrogen fertility trial on annual ryegrass was described where fertilizer and a plant growth regulator were applied at varying rates. Annual ryegrass seed yields increased as nitrogen fertilizer rates increased to 100 lb/acre and did not increase as fertilizer rates increased above 100 lb/acre.

A strip trial of fall-applied herbicides on established red clover was described as well as the plant growth regulator application on established slender wheatgrass.

Eric Johnson
Eric Johnson, U of S. July 9, 2018.
Source: SFSDC

Eric Johnson, Research Associate with the Weed Management Group, U of S has completed herbicide and plant growth regulator trials on numerous seedling and established forage seed crops for four years while contracted with SFSDC. Eric summarized the results of the 2017 and 2018 work on sainfoin, sweet clover, and hybrid bromegrass. He saw variable results in seed yield and maturity with plant growth regulator applications on established hybrid bromegrass and sweet clover, possibly in response to dry and cool conditions. Light-rate glyphosate applications to established sainfoin stands saw some good crop tolerance, and minor use data was generated for possible herbicide registrations on all crops tested.

Dan Malamura
Dan Malamura. U of S. Saskatoon, SK.
Jan. 17, 2019. Source: SFSDC

Dan Malamura, U of S described his ongoing three year red clover project that looks at lesser clover leaf weevil control, optimal seeding rates for nitrogen fixation and seed yields, plant densities and pollinator interactions. Dan established sites at Clavet, Melfort, Arborfield and Carrot River, SK in 2018. He also used laboratory conditions for additional work on weevil control. He found good control in the lab, but variable control in field trials. When studying pollinators, Dan found the majority of red clover bees are not commercial types and the long-tongued bumble bees are the most efficient pollinators in red clover. This project will continue for another two years and is receiving funding from SFSDC and Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Development Fund.

Terry Kowalchuk
Terry Kowalchuk. SK Agriculture.
Saskatoon, SK. Jan. 17, 2019.
Source: SFSDC

Terry Kowalchuk, Provincial Forage Crop Specialist with Saskatchewan Agriculture provided the market review. Terry described the forage seed industry in western Canada with 40% in the Peace River area, 20% in Manitoba, 22% in Saskatchewan and 14% in southern Alberta. Canadian forage seed inspected acres declined about 20% in 2018 as compared to 2017 and many farm-gate prices also declined. Canadian forage seed exports have trended upwards in the past three years; up by 11.5% to about $184 Million in 2017-2018. Certified alfalfa, red clover and annual ryegrass comprised most of this increase. United States and China continue to be the major importers of forage seed from Canada. See Terry’s presentation on this website under Resources - Marketing.

Thank you to all of the speakers for their excellent presentations. Reports for the research projects will be made available on the SFSDC website in the near future.

Posted February 5, 2019