Project: Forages For Drought

The main aim of this project is to develop methods and protocols required for characterization of forage germplasm for drought tolerance and irrgation response. Forage is the biggest agricultural crop of Sweden and thus it is important to understand how the climate change in Sweden is expected to affect forage yield in the near future.

Drought stress could become increasingly frequent due to climate change and hence in this project we will develop methods for drought tolerance screening for forage species under controlled conditions and characterize large number of genotypes of several species both under controlled and field conditions.

The expected outcomes of the project are development of methods for drought stress analysis and identification of genotypes with higher drought tolerance.

Field trial on Öland

A three year trial is setup on Öland in 2022. Three forage species are selected (tall fescue, perennial ryegrass and timothy).

Half of the trial is irrigated and the other half receives rain water for irrigation. The harvesting is done three times in 2023 and drone flights are done at least every second week.

Interaction with farmers

We interviewed farmers from Öland, discussing drought challenges and mitigation strategies. Organized a field day on Öland in June 2023 attended by 130 farmers for a fruiful discussion on forage cultivation challenges on Öland. SLU, HS and Lantmännen were actively involved in organizing the event.

Indoor drought evaluation

We are using state-of-the-art plant phenotyping facility NaPPI to study response of forages to drought. The findings from this will be compared to that of field trials to identify overlapping patterns and to know how well indoor facilities can be used for germplasm selection. A close collaboration is established with Dr. Kristiina Himanen, Helsinki University and coordinator of NaPPI.

Project partners

The project is led by Dr. Aakash Chawade in close collaboration with senior forage breeder Linda Öhlund, Lantmännen

funded by

Field day, Öland, June 2023

Interviews and field demonstrations

Aakash Chawade and Linda Öhlund explaining the field trial

Interview with Pär-Johan Lööf, R&D Manager, Lantmännen

Interview with Håkan Schroeder, Partnerskap Alnarp 

Interview with Håkan Schroeder, Vice dean of LTV faculty