PFCA PROJECT: STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE FORAGE YIELD AND QUALITY WHILE ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE (2015-2018)

Project Summary:  This project will help the dairy sector and other producers of forages in the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island by providing a modern tool-kit of practical adaptive management strategies to improve yield and quality of the forage crops under future scenarios of changing climate and increasingly variable weather. Efficient forage production is at the heart of profitable cattle operations.  Through a series of on-farm trials, the project will develop a compliment of integrated cropping strategies to enable farmers to adapt to changing climate by improving the yield and quality profile of their crops, to secure and improve farm profitability. The strategies are based on maximizing and balancing summer and winter crop production, including introducing advanced, sustainable agronomic and irrigation practices. 

Cash Funding Support:  Farm Adaptation Innovator Program, BC Dairy Association, Pacific Field Corn Association
In-Kind Support:  Agriculture Canada, BC Ministry of Agriculture, BC Forage Council, Holberg Farms, Quality Seeds West, Premier Pacific Seeds

Project Advisory Committee:  Holger Schwitchtenberg (Producer); BC Dairy Association member (producer); Dr. Shabtai Bittman (AAFC); Derek Hunt (AAFC).

Objective 1: To address climate change scenario with increased annual temperatures, and higher total annual precipitation, which threaten to increase erosion risk, delay spring planting, and lower yield through probability of a shorter growing season with prolonged hot dry periods. The adaptation goal is to identify new corn hybrids and winter annual species, which will stabilize and increase overall crop yield and quality per ha of land by exploiting the weather improvements  (increased heat units) and mitigating risks. We will be identifying corn hybrids suited to late planting and/or early harvesting and that are heat and flooding tolerant and winter crops that are amenable to a range of planting and harvesting dates.

Corn hybrid and winter annual photos: click here

Farm demonstation photos: click here

Objective 2:  To address climate change scenario of extended hot dry periods during the growing season through judicious use of irrigation that is both profitable and sustainable.

Irrigation project photos: click here

Objective 3:  is to utilize www.farmwest.com for: a) Weather calculators to help track weather and advise farmers and b) As a dissemination vehicle to report project status, interim and final results, study experiences, promote on-line factsheets, co-ordinate field days and solicit agri-business and producer input and feedback.