The potential of Lolium ryegrasses as seed and forage crops in western Canada
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There has been increasing interest by Canadian and international seed companies in contracting production of Lolium ryegrasses in western Canada. There is a lack of information on best management practices for the production of seed of these species and little is known about the performance of the many available cultivars under the conditions of western Canada. Thus, experiments were carried out in 1996 and 1997 at Outlook, SK (sandy-loam soil, irrigated) and Melfort, SK (clay-loam soil, non-irrigated). The ryegrass types tested include: 1) Westerwold, an annual; 2) Italian, a possible biennial; and 3) Perennial, a biennial or short-lived perennial. The first two types are both Lolium multiflorum; the difference being that Westerwold produces heads in the year of seeding, while Italian requires vernalization (exposure to winter temperatures) to produce heads. Thus, Italian must survive our winters to be able to produce a seed crop. Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) also requires vernalization to produce heads, so winter hardiness is also a key issue with this type.
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