This report details the process and findings from a three-year applied research project that studied ways to improve forage yield and quality under current conditions and future climate change scenarios.
The study took place in Agassiz, in the Fraser Valley, developing and evaluating approaches for optimizing the balance of summer annual, winter annual (cover crops) and perennial crops. The intention was to maximize use of seasonal growing degree days and moisture patterns while using irrigation effectively and efficiently.
This report describes and summarizes the findings of the year-round integrated cropping system, which had both experimental and on-farm demonstration components.
The experimental component examined all combinations of:
- Two planting dates
- Two harvesting dates
- Two corn maturities matched with a winter fallow and four winter cover crops: fall rye, winter wheat, Italian ryegrass and winter vetch
These were all grown in the periods between corn harvest and corn planting.
The on-farm component examined corn in various combinations with winter cover crops on three different farm fields. Corn hybrids on the fields differed in planting and harvest dates and maturity.
A second report focuses on the study’s optimization of irrigation water.