PRFA Peace Forage Tool
Congratulations to the Peace River Forage Association Team as they launch a new web-based decision support tool to help forage producers and re-vegetation specialists select appropriate forage species for their seeding projects. The "Peace Forage Seeding Tool - An interactive forage seeding database for the Peace Region" is up and running.
"TheTool contains information on 47 different agronomic and native grass and legume species. The Tool’s database is based on the excellent 282 page BC Rangeland Seeding Manual by Allen Dobb and Sandra Burton which was published last year by the Ministry of Agriculture. On top of all this core species information, we added Peace Region specific information and recommendations.
5 tools in one
The Tool was designed to be flexible, so that it would be useful for ranchers, farmers, seed suppliers and environmental technicians.
It includes five parts:
- Search - A searchable database of species information;
- Species Ratings - sortable species ratings tables;
- Species Options Tool - a discovery tool for clarifying your species options;
- Seed Mixture Calculator - a versatile seed mixture calculator; and
- Suppliers - a list of seed suppliers in the Peace Region.
Sortable Ratings Tables allow users to actively sort species based on suitability to meet seeding objectives such as forage enhancement (hay, pasture), erosion control and invasive plant suppression. Species can also be ranked based on their drought tolerance, winter hardiness and other adaptive characteristics. Special key notes have been added to the species summaries for the Peace River area.
Species Options allows users to define a seeding location, seeding objectives and any site factors that might be of concern. Based on the selections, the tool returns a list of species that meet the user-defined requirements, and could be considered in a seed mixture. If a custom seeding location is specified on the map interface, the report gives back basic soil and topographical information for the site, and indicates whether it is in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).
In Seed Mix Calculator can explore species by weight and composition (seed count) are reported. The calculator report also gives seed density in seeds/sq. foot based on the seeding rate that is input by the user. This feature allows fine-tuning of seed mixtures, an especially important feature in site-rehabilitation contexts. Seed price information can also be added for each species, which allows the calculator to return a total project cost based on the seeding rate and species mixture.
"The Suppliers link takes you to a map and list of local seed company contacts and supply information.
Where's the maps? - Location, location, location
"Within the Species Options Tool, seeding Objectives and Site conditions drive key considerations for seeding, but what ties it all together is... location. One of the most exciting elements of the Tool is the spatial queries that we can run comparing the seeding site location with various GIS layers. Enter your location via postal code, KML/Shapefile upload or draw-on-a-map, and the Tool will return soils data (soil unit and slope), and ALR bounds. This information is very useful when users examine the short-list of suitable species returned by the Tool.