Annual Report 2017: Peace Region Forage Cultivar Testing (PRFCT) Program
Khanal, N., Azooz, R. & Gauthier, T. (2018) Annual Report 2017: Peace Region Forage Cultivar Testing (PRFCT) Program. Coordinated by Peace Region Forage Seed Association, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Beaverlodge, Alberta
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) - Beaverlodge Research Farm and Peace Region Forage Seed Association (PRFSA) have established a long-term collaboration through a program known as the Peace Region Forage Seed Testing (PGRST) and various Agri-Innovation projects under Growing Forward 2 policy framework. This report presents the results of various forage and turf grass cultivars that were evaluated for seed yield for two to three perennial crop seasons from 2014 to 2017.
Various cultivars of creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra L. var. rubra), timothy (Phleum pratense L.), meadow fescue (Festuca pratensis Huds.), tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea), crested wheatgrass [Agropyron cristatum (L.) Gaertn.], northern wheatgrass [Agropyron dasystachyum (Hook.) Scribn.], meadow bromegrass (Bromus riparius Rehm.), smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis Leyss) and hybrid bromegrass (Bromus riparius × Bromus inermis) were tested for their seed yield in comparison to popular cultivars of respective species in the region. One trial on creeping red fescue and one on timothy were concluded in the reporting period, while one trial each of creeping red fescue, meadow fescue, tall fescue, timothy, wheat grasses and bromegrasses underwent the evaluation for first crop year and is subjected to further evaluations in the coming seasons. The forage grass cultivars and the checks included in the trials were received from various Canadian and international seed companies and their foreign affiliates including Barenbrug, Deutsche Saatveredelung AG, Foster's Seed & Feed Ltd, Imperial Seed, Limoges Forage & Grasses Ltd, Moore Seed Processors, and Pure Seed.
Variable weather patterns in different years provided desirable test environment for examining the adaptability of the cultivars in the peace region. From the concluded trial of creeping red fescue, cultivar MSPO314 produced significantly higher cumulative seed yield than rest of the cultivars, exceeding the check cultivar Boreal by 21% on average. Boreal remained to be the second highest in seed yield. Likewise from the concluded trial of timothy, 7 out of 8 cultivars from Barenbrug USA, including Barfleo, Bor01025, Bor01033, Bor01037, Bor2005, Bor88060 and PHLR99 out-yielded the check cultivar Climax, with cumulative seed yield advantage ranging from 12 to 25% over the Climax for three crop years. Seed yield is the major trait of economic interest for creeping red fescue, provided the cultivars have similar end use quality – the turf. However in timothy, the end use value lies on the forage biomass quantity, quality and stand persistence. Based on the cumulative dry matter yield, climax could still be the cultivar of choice for forage biomass production for livestock.