Timothy yield and nutritive value with a three-harvest system under the projected future climate in Canada.

Jing, Q., Bélanger, G., Qian, B., and Baron, V.S. (2014). "Timothy yield and nutritive value with a three-harvest system under the projected future climate in Canada.", Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 94(2), pp. 213-222. doi : 10.4141/CJPS2013-279  Access to full text

Abstract

Timothy (Phleum pratense L.) is harvested twice annually in Canada but with projected climate change, an additional harvest may be possible. Our objective was to evaluate the impact on timothy dry matter (DM) yield and key nutritive value attributes of shifting from a two- to a three-harvest system under projected future climate conditions at 10 sites across Canada. Future climate scenarios were generated with a stochastic weather generator (AAFC-WG) using two global climate models under the forcing of two Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emission scenarios and, then, used by the CATIMO (Canadian Timothy Model) grass model to simulate DM yield and key nutritive value attributes. Under future climate scenarios (2040–2069), the additional harvest and the resulting three-harvest system are expected to increase annual DM yield (+0.46 to +2.47 Mg DM ha1) compared with a two-harvest system across Canada but the yield increment will on average be greater in eastern Canada (1.88 Mg DM ha1) and Agassiz (2.02 Mg DM ha1) than in the prairie provinces of Canada (0.84 Mg DM ha1). The DM yield of the first harvest in a three-harvest system is expected to be less than in the two-harvest system, while that of the second harvest would be greater. Decreases in average neutral detergent fibre (NDF) concentration (−19 g kg1 DM) and digestibility (dNDF, −5 g kg1 NDF) are also expected with the three-harvest system under future conditions. Our results indicate that timothy will take advantage of projected climate change, through taking a third harvest, thereby increasing annual DM production.

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