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News

ARC releases five new varieties of native grasses and one native legume

Alberta Research Council : 28 June, 2006  (Company News)
The Alberta Research Council today released six new varieties of native plant species suitable for reclaiming industrial disturbances in Alberta's Parkland region. These grasses and legume have demonstrated superior performance in the sandy soils common to that ecoregion.
The Alberta Research Council today released six new varieties of native plant species suitable for reclaiming industrial disturbances in Alberta's Parkland region. These grasses and legume have demonstrated superior performance in the sandy soils common to that ecoregion.

'Industry is strongly encouraged to use indigenous species in their reclamation efforts to meet government guidelines,' says Jay Woosaree, leader of ARC's native plant development program. 'However, until this release, very little was available commercially in the way of native species for sandy soil conditions. These soils pose real challenges in terms of favourable growing conditions, such as soil erosion, poor nutrient levels, and inability to hold water.'

Testing was conducted near Wainwright, Alberta in the Ribstone Creek Ecological Reserve. This natural area is composed of some unique topographic features, including dune formations and wetland and riparian areas. It is also home to land use activities such as cattle grazing, oil and gas development, wildlife habitat and recreation. Under reclamation conditions, the plants showed good emergence and adaptability, as well as early maturity.

Four of the new varieties are now available from Prairie Seeds Inc. of Calmar, Alberta. These include: Aspen Milk Vetch, Centennial Canada Wild Rye, Hillbilly Nodding Brome and Butte Rocky Mountain Fescue. ARC is currently looking for a commercial partner to market the other two species, Porter Indian Rice Grass and Metisko Awned Wheatgrass.

Reclamation varieties receive global interest, and ARC is one of the few Canadian organizations developing suitable sources of material for the reclamation industry. New crops springing from these releases also provide an added opportunity for crop diversification for Alberta's agricultural and horticultural industries. Previous varieties of native plants released by ARC had been developed for the foothills and mountain regions.
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