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The SFSDC 2016 Forage Seed Growers’ annual information session was held in Nipawin, SK on December 1, 2016. The session included reports on forage seed research, pest control and a market update.

Stu Brandt, Research Manager, Northeast Agriculture Research Foundation (NARF), reviewed the forage seed research program at the Melfort research farm in 2016. Stu described three projects including; insecticides applied to established red clover for the control of lesser clover leaf weevil; alternate row planting with faba bean and red clover to determine the combination’s feasibility, compare pre-tillage to direct seeding and measure weed control; and alternate row planting of meadow bromegrass and wheat to increase knowledge of the use of forage seed crops with companion crops in alternate rows. These projects received funding support from Saskatchewan Agriculture’s ADOPT Program.

Stephanie Ginter, Research Agronomist, NARF reviewed the plant growth regulator (PGR) research at Melfort in 2016. PGR’s were applied to established red, alsike and sweet clover to determine if plant height could be altered and seed yield improved. Stephanie also described the herbicide trials that were completed in 2016 on established red, alsike and sweet clover as well as seedling sweet clover. This on-going work is being done to generate data for potential minor use label expansions in forage seed crops.

SFSDC-Grower-Information-Session-Dec-1-2016Eric Johnson, Research Associate, University of Saskatchewan carried out herbicide trials on numerous established forage seed crops including sainfoin, cicer milkvetch, sweet clover, Timothy, slender wheatgrass and hybrid bromegrass at the Kernen Research Farm site east of Saskatoon in 2016. Eric reviewed the preliminary results of the trials as well as the results of the application of a number of rates and timings of a PGR to established sweet clover.

A group of forage crop people have been working on establishing a Forage Crop Variety Testing and Demonstration Program for Saskatchewan. Terry Kowalchuk, Provincial Forage Crop Specialist, Saskatchewan Agriculture reviewed the progress of the group to date. They are working toward having a forage seed variety test site at the Melfort research farm as well as testing forage varieties for feed at three other locations starting in 2017.

Scott Hartley, Provincial Entomologist, Saskatchewan Agriculture provided a presentation on insect pests and their control in forage seed crops as well as other crops of interest to most growers. Scott described lesser clover leaf weevil, alfalfa weevil, bromegrass seed midge, sweet clover weevil, armyworm in Timothy, and others. For in-season monitoring of the development of insect pests across Saskatchewan, Scott recommended growers check out the website:

Clayton Myhre, Field Representative, DLF Pickseed provided the market update for the session. Clayton showed there was an increase in both pedigreed acres and exports of forage seed in 2015 compared to previous years. Demand has been good, especially for certified seed. Supply increased in 2015, especially for Timothy and sweet clover. Market prices for most forage seed crops have come down from 2015. As always, it is best to try to produce a clean crop in order to fetch the highest prices.

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

Posted February 21, 2017