Undergraduate Research and Demonstration Project

A multi-year undergraduate student project is being conducted at Hyslop Farm to study biological and energy efficiencies in perennial ryegrass and tall fescue seed crops grown under diverse management practices.  The project has enabled students to see on a first-hand basis the impact of irrigation management, plant growth regulators, and nitrogen management in Oregon’s most important seed crops.  Funding from the professorship has provided students with the opportunity to participate in a grass seed production research project, to learn how research is conducted, and to develop recommendations based on the research to grass seed industry practitioners.  The hands-on approach brings to life the lessons learned in the classroom.

Custom-built plot swather for harvesting research plots

The treatments have been designed to determine the efficiency of grass seed crops as a biological solar energy collector and how efficiently that carbon is partitioned to seed in low energy input and high energy input systems.  The treatments themselves are common management practices but their use or absence will permit the construction of an energy budget for the production of both seed crops, and allow for calculation of energy use efficiency in grass seed crops.

Management Treatments

  • No Irrigation
  • Fall Irrigation
  • Spring Irrigation
  • No Spring Nitrogen
  • Spring Nitrogen
  • No Plant Growth Regulator
  • Spring Plant Growth Regulator
  • Combinations of the Above Treatments

Results to Date

Impact of fall irrigation on regrowth of perennial ryegrass (irrigated inside box, none outside).

Fall irrigation treatments were made in September 2009 on the plots, but the spring irrigation treatment was not applied in May 2010 as planned as a result of the historic high rainfall this spring.  Spring nitrogen was applied in March 2010 by use of an orbit air spreader system and the plant growth regulator treatment (Palisade) was applied in May 2010 to control lodging.  Visual differences among these treatments were dramatic and were observed by nearly 200 farmers, agricultural service industry personnel, students, and the general public at this year’s Hyslop Farm Field Day in late May.  Seed yield components from the various treatments were collected in June 2010.  Seed harvest from the tall fescue and perennial ryegrass plots was completed in July 2010.

Spring nitrogen application using orbit-air system.

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