Field trials continue on grass seed growth regulator

Work is underway to expand the availability of Syngenta’s Parlay

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It’s been years in the making, but the Manitoba Forage Seed Association is one step closer to expanding the label of a much-requested plant growth regulator.

“We’ve done small-plot work up until now, and this coming season we’re still going to be doing small-plot work, but also we are looking to do some field-scale trials,” said Kevin Gulay, research manager for the organization, which recently held its annual conference in Winnipeg.

The product in question is Syngenta’s Parlay. Gulay said these trials are the most important project the producer organization has worked on over the last few years. This year’s trials will add additional nitrogen to the product to see if yield will increase.

“This is a really unique product right now. There are other growth regulators, but none of them are registered (in Canada),” he said. Other regulators are registered in the U.S.

Syngenta Canada was able to register the plant growth regulator for growers of turf-type perennial ryegrass seed last winter, with BrettYoung as the distributor. Research done by the Manitoba Forage Seed Association was key to the successful registration.

“Now we’re trying to get a label expansion for Parlay so that it’s registered on all grasses grown for seed, so we’re going to be doing more work in 2015-16 on different grass species,” Gulay said.

Grass seed producers have been looking for something to assist with lodging, which makes harvesting difficult. “By adding the Parlay, the plant doesn’t grow as tall, and it’s not going to lodge,” he said. “You also get better pollination, less disease pressure, and it ends up resulting in easier swathing and you get a better yield.”

He said it’s possible that the product has already been registered in the United States because that country’s registration process requires less research data in some cases, than Canada.

“Also, and this is just my opinion, but obviously the U.S. is a bigger market, so there is probably more to gain there,” Gulay said.

The association is also working on research in a number of other areas.

“This past season we also did some crop fertility work,” he said. “Projects involved different nitrogen timing in grass seed production, looking at fall timing versus spring timing, versus a split application. In most cases we found the split application yielded higher than either the fall or the spring application by itself.”

There were also trials done on broadcast phosphorus on perennial ryegrass, which showed no yield increase.

“We’re doing herbicide trials as well, which we’ve been doing for many years, looking at things like Canada thistle control in alfalfa, foxtail barley in grasses,” he said, adding that this coming season will also see trials commence on pre-emergent herbicides.

About the author

Reporter

Shannon VanRaes is a journalist and photojournalist at the Manitoba Co-operator. She also writes a weekly urban affairs column for Metro Winnipeg, and has previously reported for the Winnipeg Sun, Outwords Magazine and the Portage Daily Graphic.

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