Peace Region Forage Cultivar Testing (PRFCT) Program - Annual Report 2019
Khanal, N., Rahman, N. and Gauthier, T. (2020) Peace Region Forage Cultivar Testing (PRFCT) Program - Annual Report 2019. Coordinated by Peace Region Forage Seed Association and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Beaverlodge Research Farm, Alberta.
Agricultural systems need to adapt to new challenges and opportunities brought about by global climate change and globalization of market. Innovations in crop breeding have provided continuous flux of new crop cultivars that require assessment of their regional adaptability and end use quality. To address this need in forage seed crops in the Peace region, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) - Beaverlodge Research Farm and Peace Region Forage Seed Association (PRFSA) have established a long-term collaborative program known as Peace Region Forage to Cultivar Testing (PRFCT). Funded by the Government of Canada through Canadian Agriculture Partnership (CAP) with contribution from PRFSA, the primary objective of the program is to evaluate new proprietary and public cultivars to support production and marketing decisions for producers and seed companies.
Various cultivars of creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra L. var. rubra), tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea), orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.), timothy (Phleum pratense L.), red clover (Trifolium pratense L.), and alsike clover (Trifolium hybridum L.) were tested for their seed yield in comparison to popular cultivars of respective species in the region. The forage grass cultivars included in the trials were received from various Canadian and international seed companies and their foreign affiliates including Foster's Seed & Feed Ltd, Limoges Forage & Grasses Ltd, BrettYoung, DLF Moore Seed, Northstar Seed and Barenbrug USA.
During the reporting period, one trial each of creeping red fescue, tall fescue and timothy was concluded, while one trial each of creeping red fescue, orchard grass, alsike clover and red clover underwent the evaluation for first crop year in 2019 and is subjected to further evaluations in the coming season in 2020. Variable weather patterns in different years provided desirable test environment for examining the adaptability of the cultivars in the Peace region. Based on the seed yield performance of first crop seasons, creeping red fescue cultivars Foster FO performed promisingly, standing on par with Boreal. The test cultivars of tall fescue in the 2017-established trial showed better adaptability to Peace region compared to Courtenay for the seed yield. Most of their seed yield performance was better compared to the check cultivar Courtenay. The test cultivars of timothy produced significantly lower seed yield than check variety Alma during first harvest year, however, their second harvest seed yield was statistically similar to the check. The end use value in tall fescue and timothy lie on the forage biomass quantity, nutritive values and stand persistence. Biomass yields have generally positive correlations with plant height and seed yields.