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FFL-JA-Forskningsmidlene for jordbruk og matindustri

Adapting Norwegian grass and clover seed production to a changing climate with more rainfall during seed maturation and harvest (FRØTAP)

Alternative title: Tilpasning av norsk frøproduksjon av gras og kløver til et ustabilt klima med mer nedbør under frømodning og høsting (‘FRØTAP’)

Awarded: NOK 4.0 mill.

Project Number:

294982

Application Type:

Project Period:

2019 - 2022

Location:

Partner countries:

Norwegian seed production provides seed of climatically adapted grass and clover varieties for conventional and organic farming in all parts of the country. A major challenge is to ensure that as much as possible of the seed yield potential is recovered at harvest. Earlier research suggest that 30-40 % of the potential often is lost due to poor seed filling caused by lodging between pollination and harvest. In addition, severe seed loss may occur during the seed harvesting process, especially under moist conditions. The objective of this project is to increase the efficiency and robustness of Norwegian seed production through reduced seed losses during maturation and harvest. The project has been prioritized by the Norwegian seed industry as an important adaptation to an overall wetter climate with higher rainfall intensities from July to October. The project is organized into five WPs. The two first WPs intend to improve seed crop management in timothy and meadow fescue (WP1) and red clover (WP2) to avoid lodging so that seeds acquire a higher weight, and the crop dries up faster after rainfall. The strategies being tested in WP1 are various methods for N fertilization (single fertilization and split fertilization in the spring) and growth regulation (different products, spraying time and rates). While there was no advantage in splitting the spring fertilization rate in 2019 and 2020, the spraying rate of the various growth regulators (Moddus Start, Trimaxx and Medax Max) both years depended on the lodging pressure of the seed crop. In dense crops of both timothy and meadow fescue, it was necessary to increase the spraying rates to avoid lodging. Especially in timothy, standing crops (no lodging) during the period from flowering and all the way up to seed harvest was important for maximizing seed yield. In red clover (WP2), various treatments with cutting in early spring and growth regulation with Moddus Start were carried out. The experiments have so far shown that red clover require higher growth regulation rates than allowed in Norwegian red clover seed production. On average for six trials in 2019 and 2020, uncut plots sprayed with the highest Moddus Start rate (1.6 l/ha) at the start of bud formation obtained the highest seed yield (24% higher than uncut and unsprayed control plots). However, also plots cut in early spring produced high seed yields, especially when combined with the standard Modus Start rate (0.8 l/ha). Thus, the experiments showed that spring cutting to a large extent can compensate for the limitation in the use of growth regulators. The prerequisite is that cutting is carried out early without damaging the growing points, preferably when the plant height is 15-20 cm, and that the moisture conditions after cutting are good, so that regrowth is not inhibited by drought. The focus in WP3 is to test pre-harvest desiccants on forage moisture and seed yield in red clover. So far, swathing the seed crop about a week before harvest has, under good weather conditions, been an effective method to dry down the plant and seed mass. In addition, some of the products tested in 2019 and 2020 also have proved to be promising desiccants, especially products based on organic acids, such as Harmonix LeafActive (based on acetic acid) and Harmonix FoliaPlus (based on pelargonic acid). Another product, Belokha (based on pelargonic acid), also had an acceptable desiccation effect. In WP4 a new method for seed harvesting ("stripper header") was evaluated in meadow fescue, timothy, smooth meadow gras, common bent and red clover in 2019 and 2020. However, there were no strong advantages of using the stripper header technology compared to the conventional header in either of the species. In all four work packages (WP1, WP2, WP3 and WP4), new field trials have been carried out in 2021 in accordance with the project plan. However, seed cleaning has not yet been carried out. More information about these trials will therefore be reported later. WP5 is devoted to technology transfer to the seed growers. In addition, cultivation data is collected, using a web-based survey program, to examine how seed growers of timothy, meadow fescue and red clover implement the experimental results from the project on their own farm.

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Norwegian seed production provides seed of climatically adapted grass and clover varieties for conventional and organic farming in all parts of the country. A major challenge in this production is to ensure that as much as possible of the seed yield potential is recovered at harvest. Research in other countries suggest that 30-40 % of the potential is often lost because of poor seed filling caused by lodging between pollination and harvest. In addition, resent Norwegian preliminary on-farm trials in red clover showed that up to 37 % of the seed yield was lost during direct combining, with the highest losses occurring under wet harvest conditions. The objective of this project is to increase the efficiency and robustness of Norwegian seed production through reduced seed losses during maturation and harvest. The project has been prioritized by the Norwegian seed industry as an important adaptation to an overall wetter climate with higher rainfall intensities from July to October. The project is organized into five WPs. The two first WPs seek to improve seed crop management in grasses (WP1) and clover (WP2) to avoid lodging so that seeds acquire a higher weight and the crop dries up faster after rainfall. While pre-harvest desiccants will be evaluated in red clover in WP3, the focus in WP4 is to test new seed harvesting technology. WP5 is devoted to technology transfer, including a seed growers' forum and a web-page at which growers report on their implementation of new growing techniques and harvesting practice. The project is a joint effort by NIBIO, Norw. Agricultural Extension Service, Norwegian Seed Growers' Association and the seed companies FK Agri, Strand Unikorn, FK Rogaland Agder and the chemical companies Syngenta, BASF, Nordisk Alkali, Nufarm and Cheminova. A Danish seed expert will also participate in the reference group. The budget in 2019+2020+2021+2022 is 1370+1370+1190+1175 =5105 kNOK, of which 1060+1060+940+940=4000 kNOK is applied for from REC.

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Funding scheme:

FFL-JA-Forskningsmidlene for jordbruk og matindustri