Monday, October 01, 2012

REAP Switchgrass Breeding Efforts - Funded by CDAQ

Two members from the Conseil pour le Developpement de l'Agriculture du Quebec (CDAQ) joined up with 5 REAP-Canada staff members and our partners at Norac Farms in Valleyfield, Quebec to tour the switchgrass fields that were a great success this year! The project is part of the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP) and its focus is on the genetic improvement of switchgrass growing on marginal land in order to enhance its commercial viability. It is designed to develop six new lines of switchgrass with better performance in marginal lands and adaptation to the shorter growing seasons in Eastern Canada.  The goals include improving seedling vigor, and overall establishment during the first year as well as to increase productivity and reduce crop lodging.  In the end, the selected lines will be available for further testing by research stations and will be multiplied by switchgrass seed producers. The tour included a short introduction to switchgrass and the breeding program, a tour of 3 different switchgrass sites, and discussion on the success of the third year of growth within each population. All in all, it was a great day of exploring and learning about this incredibly resource efficient species that has the potential to, as the director of REAP-Canada, Roger Samson put it: "help farmers grow a green prosperity for future generations!"



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