Main research question/goal
The goal of this research is to optimise the seed production technique of grasses, red clover and white mustard. We first aim for high seed quality (free from weeds and disease) because of the high quality standards of ILVO's own basic seed, the RvP varieties. Second, we seek a stable, high and profitable seed yield so that such "minor crops" (R1-seed) be used as an alternative and profitable crop for more sustainable Flemish agriculture. A specific focus is on finding and screening of herbicides, fungicides and growth regulators for use in minor crops, because the number of authorised active substances both at the national and regional level is decreasing and because the agrochemical companies pay little attention to these minor crops. Another focus is on screening the RvP varieties (candivars) for their seed yield potential. There is a large gap between the theoretical potential seed yield (10,000 kg / ha - Italian ryegrass-tetraploid) and practical yield (2,000 kg / ha), which we want to reduce through research.Research approach
The research uses the RvP varieties bred at ILVO. By means of scientific field trials and demonstration trials on a practical scale (LCG Flanders 2010-11-12) we increase seed yield, seed quality and harvest stability. We vary the following parameters, and then measure and observe them: herbicides, growth regulation, disease control, choice of varieties, reduction of seed losses (adhesives, growth hormones, optimal harvest time, machinery). We optimise the N-fertilisation on the seed production of Italian ryegrass using reflectance measurements (Greenseeker) during the growing season, to determine the optimum plant N content and any necessary N-top dressing. We activate all necessary steps and additional research in order to get authorisation for using these pesticides in seed crops. The results of the field trials are translated into advice on the most sustainable and productive cultivars as far as forage and seed yield.Relevance/Valorisation
ILVO is running breeding programmes for these "minor crops" and commercialises its own RvP cultivars, after multiplication by basic seed growers and R1 seed growers (the latter is done via seed merchants). Through the improved seed production techniques and insights, and the screening on seed productivity of new cultivars, we expect a significant increase in seed yield in the coming years. This is beneficial for seed growers of basic seed of RvP cultivars and those of R1 seed in general. The research results are directly usable in the cultivation support and guidance of seed growers and merchants. We work for the flow of information along with the agricultural practical centres (Inagro - LCG Cereals Flanders). Seed crops (grasses) provide more diversification on the Flemish farms and especially Italian ryegrass belongs typical to the Flemish intensive cattle farms, because of the combined feed and seed production system.