b'are more competitive against weedsWeijde. There is only 1 herbicide effectiverials from their research departments through faster establishment. This ofagainst Poa annua and not against Poaacross the world, but also makes limited course has to be combined with diseasepratensis and one can only use it onceuse of collecting ecotypes in interesting tolerance and a high seed yield, saysper year. And this is especially a problemnatural environments.van der Aa. When were successful inbecause Poa pratensis is a bit slow to accomplishing these tasks, well be lessestablish, while Poa annua is quick toCLOSE CONTACT WITH dependent on some of the plant protec- grow and sheds seeds in a matter of days. GROWERStion products that we need today. DLFs seed production of this spe- As is the case with any crop, breeding cies is concentrated in the SE regionscompanies must maintain close relation-OTHER SEED PRODUCTIONof Denmark, in the Netherlands concen- ships with their markets to ensure their CHALLENGES trated in Zeeuws Vlaanderen, and in thebreeding programs are aligned with Seed yield in forage types is relativelyUS in Washington and Idaho. industry and end-consumer needs.small and Ochsenbein adds that continu- At Pure Seed, we work with growers ous improvement is needed on this frontin all production areas doing trials and to increase commercial success of newreleasing the results to the grower groups varieties. and licensees, explains Austin Fricker.Schumann points to very big prob- DSP/Agroscopefocusesonthe lems that exist today in the production ofTHE NEWdemands of the Swiss National List of high-quality P. pratensis varieties. WeRecommended Varieties, which fully can use only crop-free seed lots for theREGULATIONS ONreflect demands from growers. DLF professional-markets. These crop-freeACCESS AND BENEFITbreeders are in close contact with end-us-materials we produced in the past in theers via their sales department but also US, but today the US producers are verySHARING HAVE MADEhas demonstration-plots in several sites strongly focused on the seed yield varie- where visitors and customers can person-ties, and it is difficult to produce the verySOURCING NEWally observe how different varieties and high-quality varieties with a lower seedGENETIC MATERIALmixtures perform in different situations. yield-potential. We also do tests and trials in coopera-In Brentanos view however, thereFOR BREEDING tion with customers to compare different are many ways the industry can improveP. PRATENSIS solutions in real-time, says van der Aa.and utilize resource-smart approaches ingrass seed production, many of which areA CHALLENGE. MEASURING YIELD INoften overlooked. Consider the multiplica- FORAGE TYPEStion process of an individual cultivar withBreeders of P. pratensis often trial improved seed yield, he says. It consumesin many different production regions fewer acres, less irrigation water and hasbecause,asCrystalRose-Fricker lower fertilizer consumption per pound ofexplains, varieties will perform differ-seed available to the user. SOURCES OF GENETICently. Learning where it achieves the At companies like DLF, seed produc- DIVERSITY highest yield can take many years. Yield tion for P. pratensis is done in cooper- In addition to their own collections, P.is measured classically as it is for other ation with specialist farmers. The seedpratensisbreeders use other sources.grass species, but Grieder explains that production for this species is compli- DSV uses varieties and advanced breed- in the breeding nurseries with spaced cated, says van der Aa. Farmers haveing lines for off-type selection, and col- plants, they rate biomass visually. to accept slow germination and establish- lects new ecotypes. Pure Seed usesAt DLF, dry matter yield is measured ment, and the field has to be sown early inlandrace collections and genebanks inusing a Haldrup harvesting machine, and the year. Only the tillers which are devel- their breeding programme. Columbiaa near-infrared camera is mounted on the oped before winter will be vernalized andRiver Seed/Novel Ag primarily use theirmachine which measures parameters like set flower heads the following summer.own collections but have accessed uni- dry matter, protein and sugar content, Because of the early sowing, P.versity collections and genebanks asand fibre digestibility.pratensis is normally sown under a coverwell. DSP/Agroscope works with older crop which can be harvested in the firstbreeding material that is mainly based onINNOVATIONS IN THE PIPELINE summer. Van der Aa explains however thatoriginal ecotype populations (local SwissPure Seed is currently using molecular the cover crop should not be too dense sogenetics, collected in-situ). DLF broadensmarkers for preliminary screening to that it allows this grass to get enoughits genetics through collecting ecotypesidentify apomictic lines. DSV is contin-sunlight to establish. Also weed controland always looks for interesting off typesually in close contact with colleagues calls for special attention from our seedin its breeding efforts. who work with field crops like canola growers, especially weeds like P. annuaFor some, the new regulationsand may adopt the new molecular tech-or rough-stalked meadow grass (P. trivia- on access and benefit sharing haveniques being used with them in breeding lis). Its impossible to separate seeds frommade sourcing new genetic materialP. pratensis in the future.these grass weeds from P. pratensis.for breeding P. pratensis a challenge.At DSP/Agroscope, Grieder reports For us, Poa annua is a major prob- The Rio-Regulations in particular, saysthat a new innovation has just started to lem, both in the established turf trialsSchumann, pose difficulties. Barenbrugbe put to use, but he cannot comment as in breeding nurseries, says van derfocuses on crosses between elite mate- further at this time. As P. pratensis is 44IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM'