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By Ray McVicar, Executive Director
Saskatchewan Forage Seed Development Commission (SFSDC)

The SFSDC Board has directed an increase in the forage seed research program for 2015. At our recent planning session, the SFSDC main objective of providing research to improve production of forage seed crops was reinforced.

SFSDC is very pleased to once again be working with the Northeast Agriculture Research Foundation (NARF) at the Melfort Research Farm to carry out a large portion of our research program. We are also pleased to have a new research partner on 2015. For the first time in many years, weed control research in forage seed crops will be carried ResearchPlans2015out by the Weed Control Program at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

The following projects are planned at NARF with funding from SFSDC levy payers and our industry partners:

  • Continuation of the minor use herbicide program on a number of seedling and established forage seed crops. Trials on seedling red, alsike and sweet clover will be carried out. We will also look at a number of herbicide treatments on established slender wheatgrass as well as plant growth regulator applications on established red clover.

  • Continuation of the foliar copper fertilizer research on established forage grass seed sites. With the encouraging results of foliar copper applications in the past 2 years, a third and final year will be completed in 2015. Look for the two year results report on the SFSDC website.

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

  • Management Options to Control Lesser Clover Leaf Weevil in Red Clover. This project will demonstrate the application of a registered insecticide on established red clover to increase seed production;

  • Fungicides for Use on Established Forage Seed Grasses where registered fungicides will be applied to established timothy and tall fescue crops to increase seed production; and

  • Evaluating the Placement of Companion Crops in Forage Seed Production. This will be the final year of a two year project to compare alternate methods of planting forage seed crops with and without a companion crop.

The SFSDC Board has decided to expand our minor use herbicide program in 2015. The Weed Control Program at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon has been contracted to begin minor use research on 2 forage seed legume and 3 forage seed grass crops. Seedling crops will be planted and tested in 2015, with an additional area planted for research on established crops in 2016. Our growers are very interested in seeing more crop protection products registered for use in forage seed crops and this expanded program will help achieve that goal.

SFSDC has committed research funding to the Saskatchewan Forage Network. The Network combines the resources of a number of grower organizations to support forage research projects at the Masters and PhD level. To date, funding for three projects has been granted.

Research funding support has also been allocated toward the forage crop plant breeding program at the University of Saskatchewan for their proposed Agriculture Development Fund project for improved sainfoin. We hope to be able to use levy funds to leverage increased support for forage crop plant breeding for many years to come.

For more information about current and past research projects, please check out the SFSDC website look under Research.

Posted June 4, 2015