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The Saskatchewan Forage Seed Development Commission (SFSDC) is expanding forage seed research with the goal to improve economic returns for our levy payers. Research includes investigating alternate planting methods that could be utilized by conventional, feed or organic growers; minor use expansion of herbicides; plant growth regulators on established crops; and insect control. Levy money is also being used to leverage significant funding from other sources for plant breeding and variety demonstration and testing such as the new provincial Variety Demonstration Program.

The Weed Management Program at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) in Saskatoon has been contracted by SFSDC to carry out research on forage seed crops. This year, herbicides will be applied to seedling sweet clover, sainfoin, tall fescue and hybrid bromegrass. An established stand of hybrid bromegrass will be treated with plant growth regulators to see if the positive results found in Manitoba can be duplicated in Saskatchewan. Test herbicides will also be applied to the established hybrid bromegrass to fill in gaps in product labels using minor use submissions.

Dr. Bill Biligetu, forage crop breeder at the U of S, is continuing his sainfoin variety selection project this year with partial funding from SFSDC. The project is developing new sainfoin lines with improved forage characteristics and stand persistence under Saskatchewan conditions.

Dr. Sean Prager, the new entomologist at the U of S, has applied for public funding for a number of research projects that look into pollinators and insect pest problems in red clover seed crops. SFSDC is very excited to support the efforts of these two new scientists at the U of S.


Alternate Row Planting. NARF Melfort SK. July 2016. Source: SFSDC

SFSDC has invested funds in the re-started Saskatchewan Forage Variety Demonstration and Testing program with four sites in the province including a forage seed site at Melfort, SK.

The Northeast Agriculture Research Foundation (NARF) is home to much of the forage seed research program in 2017. NARF is located at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Research Farm south of Melfort, SK. SFSDC is funding a number of projects at NARF in 2017. They are:

  • Minor Use herbicide screening program on seedling red clover and seedling slender wheatgrass. Herbicides will also be applied to established red, alsike and sweet clovers. Data collected from these trials is used in minor use submissions to expand herbicide labels for forage seed producers;

  • Plant Growth Regulators (PGRs) will be applied at different growth stages on established red, alsike and sweet clovers. The results will be compared to similar treatments in Manitoba and Alberta to determine if PGRs are beneficial for seed production;

  • An expanded trial for the control of lesser clover leaf weevil in established red clover; and

  • Red and alsike clovers along with slender wheatgrass will be planted in 2017 to provide space for research on established crops in 2018.

The 2017 projects at NARF funded by the Saskatchewan Agriculture and the Agricultural Demonstration of Practices and Technologies (ADOPT) initiative under the Canada-Saskatchewan Growing Forward 2 bi-lateral agreement are:

  • Evaluating the Placement of Companion Crops in Forage Seed Production; where forage seed crop establishment, yields and economics will be compared under alternative planting methods with-or-without a companion crop. This is a repeat of the two-year project with meadow bromegrass and wheat to confirm results obtained in the 2014-2015 project whose report is on the SFSDC website;

  • Evaluating the use of Direct Seeding and Pre-Seeding Cultivation in Forage Seed Crop Establishment; the second year of a two-year project where red clover was underseeded with faba bean in 2016 with-or-without pre-seed cultivation combined with-or-without the application of pre-seed herbicides; and

  • Demonstrating the Effects of Red and Alsike Clover Seed Crops in Rotations; where clovers will be planted with canola as a companion crop in 2017 to determine its effect on clover seed production in 2018. In 2019, wheat will be planted in the same plots to determine if clover production can reduce nitrogen fertilizer requirements in wheat and demonstrate planting wheat directly into clover stubble.

SFSDC relies on the support of industry partners who provide products for the research program. Thank you to DLF Pickseed Canada, BASF Canada, Bayer CropScience, BrettYoung, Dow Agrosciences, DuPont Canada, Engage Agro, FMC Corporation, NuFarm Canada, Syngenta Canada and AG-Vision Seeds for their support of the forage seed industry.

For more information about current and past research projects, please look under Research.

 Posted June 5, 2017