Forage Rejuvenation on Old Grasslands

Project Title

Low-Cost Forage Management (Hay and Pasture Systems, Legume Seeding) Impacts on Productivity and Soil Health of Old Grassland


Vern Baron

Emmanuel Mapfumo (Soil Scientist), Concordia University of Edmonton, AB Darren Bruhjell (Range and Forage specialist), AAFC, Edmonton, AB Campbell Dick (purebred livestock breeder), North Slope Inc., Bawlf, AB Bill Houston (Range and Forage Specialist), AAFC, Regina, SK Serena Black, M. Sc., (Manager), BC Forage Council, Prince George, BC

Status Project Code
In progress. Results expected in March, 2026 FRG.02.21


It is well known that pasture or hay stands decline in yield over time. High costs associated with breaking and re-seeding, along with the uncertainty of establishment of new seed mean that many pastures and hay stands are left in production well past their quality and yield prime. The addition of legumes is one way to increase forage stand quality without breaking grass.


  • Increase the forage yield and quality of old hay and pasture stands through inclusion legumes.
  • Determine least cost and best legume fit for old grass stand renovation.
  • Ascertain if trends in forage productivity and soil health differ between hayed and grazed systems, and when legumes are included compared to no legumes.

What they will do

This group of researchers will compare the effects of different forage establishment techniques with different species. This study will be done in Lacombe on a forage stand that was originally established in 1993. Researchers will compare sod seeding to conventional seeding with a triticale cover crop as well as hay vs. grazing with a control, alfalfa, red clover, and annual mix. This project will also include producer demonstration sites in AB, SK, and BC. The annual treatment will consist of two different producer chosen mixtures that are sown in alternating years.


This project will shed more light on pasture rejuvenation techniques and may result in lower risk solutions to improving the quality of forage stands.