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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Burns, Oregon » Range and Meadow Forage Management Research » Research » Research Project #443226

Research Project: Improved Seed and Seeding Technology for Great Basin Rangelands

Location: Range and Meadow Forage Management Research

Project Number: 2070-21500-001-005-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 26, 2022
End Date: Sep 30, 2025

Despite significant ARS-generated advances in germplasm (e.g., ARS Logan, Utah) for restoring sagebrush rangelands, improved seed and seeding technologies are necessary to increase success of seeded native perennial plant species. Increased seeding success, particularly of native perennial bunchgrasses, would help to mitigate expansion of non-native annual grass species and associated increased fuel continuity and fire frequency across tens of millions of acres of western U.S. rangeland. Over the last 5 years The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Burns ARS have worked cooperatively to develop seed amendment technologies aimed at improving seeding success. Efforts to this point have resulted in technology that is now the subject of a CRADA involving ARS, TNC, and the seed coating industry. The objectives of this agreement will build on that progress by refining and developing 1) carbon seed coatings that allow for simultaneous seeding of desired perennial species and application of herbicide to kill non-desired invasive annuals and 2) time delay seed coatings to promote variable germination timing in uncertain seeding environments typical of sagebrush rangelands.

Seed amendment technology research will involve limited greenhouse work but the TNC contribution will focus predominantly on field level studies involving different amendment formulations applied across an environmental gradient of soil moisture and temperature. All studies will focus on emergent seedling density and subsequent survival as metrics of seed amendment technology/seeding success.