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The growing season is complete and it has seen its fair share of moisture. Crops progressed, but temporary standing water in many fields during July and August in the northeast region of the province lowered yields. Frequent showers in August caused delays in the sweet clover and grass seed harvest but by the second week in September, much of the grasses were in the bin and the red and alsike clover was being desiccated or swathed. The rain in late September and snow in October caused problems. Unfortunately, some fields were not harvested.

Bill-BiligetuSFSDC has had another successful year. Forage seed sales from Saskatchewan growers were over $13.8 Million in the 2015-2016 crop year, jumping from $6.6 Million the year before. This increase also reflected in an increase in levy received by the Commission. The SFSDC Board has directed the increase into an expanded Research program for forage seed producers.

The Northeast Agriculture Research Foundation (NARF) annual field day was held near Melfort, SK on July 20, 2016 with approximately 100 people in attendance to look at research projects on many crops. SFSDC has worked with NARF for 4 years on forage seed research projects at their site. This year, a group from the International Grassland Congress in Saskatoon took a side trip to northeast Saskatchewan and made a quick stop at the SFSDC clover crop minor use trials during the NARF tour.

Thank you to Stu Brandt, Stephanie Ginter, Brett Mollison and all the crew at NARF and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Melfort for their efforts on the forage seed crop projects and with the field day.

The SFSDC Directors held their Board meeting in Saskatoon on August 26, 2016. Our guest speaker was Penny McCall, Executive Director of Crops and Irrigation Branch with Saskatchewan Agriculture. Penny gave an overview of Agriculture production and export levels in the province and targets for growth in the AG sector. She also introduced discussion about the need for producers to get more involved in talking with other sectors of our society regarding the Social License to Farm.

The annual forage crop field tour was held at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) on August 26, 2016 with 38 in attendance. This year’s tour included presentations from Drs. Bruce Coulman and Bill Biligetu, who led the group through the forage plant breeding and demonstration plots, while Moria Petruic and Aaron Gerein explained the herbicide and plant growth regulator research plots.

The forage breeding work in Saskatoon is a joint program between the U of S and AAFC. Their objective is to develop improved cultivars of important grasses and legumes for western Canada. The breeding program tour stops included the perennial and legume demonstration trial that showed 34 grass and 4 legume species, the perennial grass breeding nursery (hybrid bromegrass, crested wheatgrass and hybrid wheatgrass), the perennial legume breeding nursery (sainfoin and alfalfa) and the annual forage crop plot. The group also looked at projects investigating locally adapted alfalfa cultivars and stockpiled forages.

Herbicide tolerance work on sainfoin, cicer milkvetch, sweet clover, hybrid bromegrass, Timothy, and slender wheatgrass was reviewed. A new project on the use of a plant growth regulator on sweet clover seed production was also looked at. The objective of these trials is to generate data for possible minor use registrations for forage seed crops.

SFSDC would like to thank the U of S and AAFC for their hospitality and expertise at the field tour. It was an excellent opportunity to view their research work and build great connections with our research community. Special thanks to Bruce, Bill, Moria and Aaron for their efforts.

Presentations on the results of these research projects will be highlighted at the annual Forage Seed Information Session on Thursday December 1, 2016 at the Evergreen Centre in Nipawin, SK from 1 – 4:30 PM.

For more information about these research programs , please check this website under Research.

Posted November 3, 2016