Hybrid Poplar Crop Manual for the Prairie Provinces

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Knowledge and expertise about hybrid poplar crop farming in Canada has not been readily accessible up to now to the farmer, land owner or corporation planning to grow this new crop in the Prairie region (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and British Columbia’s Peace River region).

Hybrid poplar crop manual for the prairie provinces
The manual is a web-based how-to guide for farmers, land owners and corporations (collectively called ‘farmer interested in establishing a successful hybrid poplar crop on farmland. It provides the tools and knowledge to make informed decisions about this new crop. The manual is designed for Internet access and consists of distinct modules (chapters) the user can access and use independently. The design of the manual allows it to be dynamic and thus suitable for updates and improvements over time.

Overview of the modules
  1. Site requirements and site selection
  2. Clone selection and deployment
  3. Stock procurement
  4. Crop density, spacing and layout
  5. Site preparation
  6. Crop planting
  7. Crop maintenance and improvement
  8. Growth and yield
  9. Diseases and insects
  10. Economic analysis
Agronomic crop concept. Well-managed hybrid poplar crops on farmland will produce yields that are considerably higher than poplars grown in a forest setting. To meet yield expectations, hybrid poplar crops must be grown on good soils, and must be intensively managed like any other agronomic crop. This manual is aimed at the concept of growing this crop as an agronomic crop. This concept is generally referred to as ‘SRIC hybrid poplar’.

SRIC hybrid poplar. SRIC is the acronym for ‘short-rotation-intensive-culture’. The SRIC hybrid poplar crop, or simply SRIC hybrid poplar, denotes hybrid poplar grown as an agronomic crop on farmland on a short crop cycle or rotation, using intensive cultural practices. It is a multi-year farm crop. The length of the crop cycle or rotation depends on the end product the farmer intends to grow and will vary depending on the location; i.e. the cycle will be shorter under more favourable growing conditions.
  • For biomass crops the crop cycle could vary anywhere from four to seven
    years; in some countries the cycle can actually be annual. Subsequent
    biomass crops are produced from the same root systems that coppice (resprout
    new shoots) following a winter harvest. This process can be repeated
    several times before the parent trees need replacing. This manual will not deal
    with biomass crops, as this requires a totally different approach.
  • For a pulpwood crop the expected crop cycle or rotation would last from
    15 to 25 years, depending on the climate, location and the possibility of
    irrigation. A subsequent crop would be started with newly planted trees; the
    old stumps from the previous crops are either removed or killed.
  • For a solid wood crop, such as saw- or peeler logs, the rotation varies from
    20 to 30 years, depending on the climate and location. As with the pulpwood
    crop, a subsequent crop would be started with newly planted trees; the old
    stumps from the previous crops are either removed or killed.
Another frequently used acronym for this type of crop in the US is SRWC, which stands for short rotation woody crop. It is the growing of trees as a crop using agricultural practices on a rotation generally less than 15 years.

The manual was compiled through the Saskatchewan Forest Centre’s (SFC) Forest Development Fund for 2005. Cees van Oosten of SilviConsult Woody Crops Technology Inc. provided the leadership for this collaborative effort that saw contributions from several government and private sector agencies. Most notable were the Canadian Forest Service (CFS) and Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food (SAF) along with Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. and the Poplar Council of Canada (PCC). Ten other agencies were involved in the project.

The pdf version of this manual is available at:
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Toso Bozic.
This document is maintained by Brenda McLellan.
This information published to the web on October 26, 2006.
Last Reviewed/Revised on January 31, 2019.