Most of the forage crops used in Japan are what has been introduced from Western countries. But the Japanese climate which belongs to the Asian monsoon area, is characterized by a hot and humid summer, and is significantly different from the climate of Europe and North America. So, it is necessary to develop a cultivation system for forage production in Japan.
In the Division of Forage Crop Research, we conduct research and development on the production of forage crops for producing self-supplying feed. The objectives of the division are to breed new cultivars suiting for our conditions, used for forage, tarf and bio-energy, and to develop high-yielding, labor-saving and cost-efficient cultivation on forage production. For example, the silage corn often showed the flooding damage cultivated in the paddies, since it is much rain fall in rainy season before summer. In order to overcome this problem, we have pursued the breeding of flood resistant cultivars of corn, and developed the cultivation techniques for alleviating excessive soil moisture stress. We have bred the Italian ryegrass as winter annual crops suitable for the fields or paddies in the warm temperate zone, and the orchardgrass as perennial grasses used in the grasslands of the Honshu area. In addition, we are also developing an efficient fertilization system and method of pests control that does not rely solely on pesticides.