This publication is a guide for red clover seed production. Keep in mind local conditions and your experience as a producer when using this information. Red clover is a short-lived perennial. The two types of red clover grown in Canada are late flowering single-cut cultivars and early flowering double-cut cultivars. In the single cut cultivars, seed is produced only in the second and subsequent years. Single-cut cultivars are hardy and are usually grown in the parkland area of the prairies and in the northern areas of British Columbia and Alberta. Double-cut varieties are not as winter hardy.
Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), also known as English ryegrass, is one of the most important forage and turf grasses in the world. It is particularly well suited as a pasture grass because it grows quickly, is high yielding and produces high-quality palatable forage. It can also be harvested for silage and makes good dairy-quality silage when harvested at the early boot stage. The use of perennial ryegrass as a turfgrass has increased worldwide in recent years as more persistent turf types have been developed.
Timothy seed is used primarily in mixes for hay, pasture or silage. It is also used in solid stands for the hay compaction industry. Most seed produced in Western Canada is used in North America; however, some proprietary varieties are grown under contract and shipped overseas, mainly to Europe.
Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) is used for forage and turf purposes around the world. Native to central Europe, the plant was introduced to the U.S. in the late 1800s and into Canada in the early 1920s from England. Before the early 1980s, tall fescue varieties were developed mainly for forage production, but since that time, more turf-type varieties have been developed for recreational uses.
Cattle producers grow ever increasing amounts of annual crops for feed (silage, green feed and swath grazing). Measuring those crop varieties that produce the highest forage yield becomes increasingly important. Silage is an integral forage source in feedlots across the province and has become more prevalent in cow herds as well. With many producers trying to lower production costs, swath grazing of cow herds has increased dramatically in the last few years. It could also be argued that there is more grain forage than cereal grain fed to take a market animal from conception to plate.