Diversity of plant species plays an important role in nutrient recycling and primary production in both natural and managed grasslands. It also ensures one or more of the species will be productive even during stressful conditions such as drought or pest outbreak.
Ongoing experiments by Mike Schellenberg and his team at AAFC in Swift Current, Sask. have indicated that polycultures or cocktail mixes of annual forage plant species show improved biomass quality and productivity in comparison to monocultures. The forage scientists at AAFC have found that mixtures of species are showing better weed suppression likely due to increased competition between crops and weeds. They are of the opinion that the mixture enables roots of various species to extract nutrients and water from different soil depths thereby maximizing use of available resources. Under drier conditions, the crops with deeper root structures can access resources at a greater depth and typically bring moisture in the upper soil layers to make it available for other shallow rooted crops. Forage scientists Sanderson, Goslee and Soder demonstrated that a mixture of forage species can increase pasture forage yield and reduce weed invasion.
Richardson Seed has formulated an optimal combination of forage species based on soil and climatic conditions ideally suited for dairy growers in the region. Ask us about our Richardson Seed brand Forage Mixes most suitable for your growing conditions. Our line-up of blends includes several mixes suitable for coastal production, as well as a wide range of mixes for optimum production in the BC Interior.
Adding Diversity and Productivity to Forages – by Donna Fleury. Top Crop Manager, September 2015.
Biodiversity in Forage Stands – Matt A Sanderson, Sarah Goslee and Kathy Soder. Cool Forages – By Bittman & Hunt