Managing annual bluegrass in creeping red fescue seed production fields in the Peace Region

Project Details

Status: Completed
Investment: $22,500
Commodity: Forage/Grassland
Organization: SARDA Ag Research Association
Investigator: Calvin Yoder

Nationally, 99% of creeping red fescue seed is produced in the Peace Region and accounts for 65% of turf and forage seed grown in the area.

Why is this research important for Alberta ag?

Annual bluegrass has caused significant economic loss in turf and forage grass seed growing area of the world, is one of the wort contaminants in turf grass seed production, and is extremely challenging to manage. The Peace Region is one of the last turf and forage seed producing areas that does not yet have a significant issue with annual bluegrass; however, the presence of this weed is increasing in the region, particularly in long-term fescue fields.

Nationally, 99% of creeping red fescue seed is produced in the Peace Region and accounts for 65% of turf and forage seed grown in the area. Most of the seed is exported and global demand for this seed crop requires that seed is high quality and free of weed seed. Currently, there is not herbicide registered for use on creeping red fescue in Canada that indicates a control of annual bluegrass and there is little information available on the management of this weed in turf and forage seed crops in Canada.

This project examines the use of select herbicides to control annual bluegrass in creeping red fescue while considering the impacts on crop health. Efficacy of annual bluegrass control and creeping red fescue crop tolerance will be assessed with the goal of determining better management practices for this emerging issue in creeping red fescue fields of the Peace Region.

What benefits can producers expect from this research?

Benefits of this research include enhanced annual bluegrass management practices and will help to maintain the high seed quality of creeping red fescue seed produced in the area. Improving seed quality will reduce the risk of losing market share and improve global marketability. If crop tolerance data findings are favourable, there may be an opportunity to apply for minor use application for select herbicides. Creeping red fescue seed production also provides respite from annual cropping activities, improving weed and disease management, soil health, and overall crop health.

How will these research findings reach producers on-farm?

Findings will be shared through annual powerpoints and ARM reports, an extension publication and final report, conferences, meetings, field demonstrations, and updates sent via email to relevant industry players.

Funded in part by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.