Why is this research important for Alberta ag?
Producers in western Canada grow significant acres of annual crops for greenfeed and silage. In Alberta alone, the total area harvested for greenfeed and silage nears a million acres annually. Barley is by far the most widely used, encompassing about 50% of the total area devoted to silage and greenfeed production.
This research evaluates advanced barley lines for forage performance across different soil zones of western Canada and select and release for commercial cultivation lines that have high forage yield and enhanced fodder quality. Higher forage yield, superior fodder quality, improved disease resistance and/or other desirable agronomic traits are just a few of the possible traits the new varieties will possess.
What benefits can producers expect from this research?
This research will develop improved forage barley varieties for use by the livestock producers that depend on barley for silage, greenfeed and swath grazing. The varieties to be developed will be released to seed companies and seed growers in western Canada, and subsequently used by farmers and ranchers.
For dairy and beef producers, the availability of high yielding and high quality forage varieties may mean increased carrying capacity per acre, increased milk yield, increased rate of gain in backgrounding calves, and reduced costs of gain or lower overall production costs.
How will these research findings reach producers on-farm?
This is an applied research program, and the results will be demonstrated to farmers, seed growers, funders and the media through field days.
Funded in part by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.