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The Saskatchewan Forage Seed Development Commission’s top goal is to enhance yields and economic returns for our levy payers. We have taken steps to expand our research program this year with that goal in mind.

SFSDC is very pleased to be working with the Northeast Agriculture Research Foundation (NARF) again in 2016 to carry out an ambitious forage seed research program. This work will be done at the NARF research site on the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Research Farm south of Melfort, SK.

The following projects are underway in 2016 at NARF with support from Saskatchewan Agriculture and the Agricultural Demonstration of Practices and Technologies (ADOPT) initiative under the Canada-Saskatchewan Growing Forward 2 bi-lateral agreement:

      • 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. We are repeating this two-year project with meadow bromegrass and wheat to confirm results obtained in the 2014-2015 project whose report is now on the SFSDC website;
      • Evaluating the use of Direct Seeding and Pre-Seeding Cultivation in Forage Seed Crop Establishment; a two-year project where direct seeding or cultivation combined with the use of pre-seedling herbicides will be compared in the establishment of red clover underseeded to faba bean; and
      • Management Options to Control Lesser Clover Leaf Weevil in Red Clover; where different application timings with a registered insecticide will used to improve red clover seed yields.

SFSDC is also funding additional projects at NARF in 2016. They are:

      • The Minor Use herbicide screening program will continue with a number of herbicide treatments on established red, alsike and sweet clovers. Data from past SFSDC funded minor use herbicide tests has already been included in numerous minor use submissions to expand herbicide labels for forage seed producers;
      • Plant Growth Regulators (PGRs) are of interest to our growers and a significant program will be started this year to test the effectiveness of PGRs on established red, alsike and sweet clovers in northeastern Saskatchewan. Manitoba and Alberta have been looking at PGRs for a couple of years so it is time to see how they work in Saskatchewan. Results will be compared across the Prairies;
      • The 2014-2015 project on meadow bromegrass alternate row / companion crop seeding wrapped up in the fall of 2015. We will be maintaining the established meadow bromegrass plots from that study in 2016 to see if there are any 2nd year seed yield effects. 2016 seed yield results and an economic analysis will be available to compliment the 2015 report; and
      • Red, alsike and sweet clover crops will be planted in 2016 to provide space for research on established crops in 2017.

Minor Use Plots NARFFor the second year, the Weed Management Program with the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon has been contracted by SFSDC to carry out herbicide screening research on established crops. Herbicides will be applied on sweet clover, sainfoin, cicer milkvetch, slender wheatgrass, hybrid bromegrass and timothy. Data generated from treatments on seedling crops in 2015 has been included in ongoing minor use submissions.

The Weed Management Program will also be looking at PGRs in 2016. Last year, a block of sweet clover was planted to be utilized this year. A number of rates and timings of a PGR will be applied on sweet clover this spring to see how the product performs in the Saskatoon region.

We rely on the support of our industry partners by providing products for all of our research projects. Thank you to DLF Pickseed Canada, BASF Canada, Bayer CropScience, BrettYoung, Dow Agrosciences, DuPont Canada, and Syngenta Canada for their continuing support of the forage seed industry.

SFSDC is providing two-year funding for one of Dr. Bill Biligetu’s plant breeding projects at the University of Saskatchewan. The project will work toward developing new sainfoin lines with improved forage characteristics and stand persistence under Saskatchewan conditions.

The Saskatchewan Forage Network has been in operation for three years. The goal of the Network is to promote the importance of forage research with funders and provided a common voice for numerous organizations with interest in forage crops. The Network also combines the resources of a number of grower organizations, including SFSDC, to support forage research projects at the Masters and PhD level. To date, funding for six projects has been granted in areas including improving crested wheatgrass, new sainfoin lines, perennial native legumes, greenfeed production, introducing bloat-free legumes into pastures, and digestible fibre in high production dairy cattle.

For more information about current and past research projects, please check out our Research page.

Posted May 18, 2016