Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye
Location: Fairview Research Farm (NW-5-83-02-W6)
From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2013 Annual Report
Cattle producers grow ever increasing amounts of annual crops for feed (silage, greenfeed and swath grazing), and measuring those that produce the highest forage yield becomes increasingly important. Silage is an integral forage source in feedlots across the province and has become more prevalent in cow herds as well. With many producers trying to lower production costs, swath grazing of cow herds has increased dramatically in the last few years. It could also be argued that there is more grain forage than cereal grain fed to take a market animal from conception to plate.
Under the umbrella of the Agricultural Research and Extension Council of Alberta, eight applied research groups performed the project at twelve locations throughout the province.
Agricultural Research and Extension Council of Alberta, Sherwood Park, ALTA., (780) 416-6046
Battle River Research Group, Forestburg, Alta., (780) 582-7308
Chinook Applied Research Association, Oyen, Alta., (403) 664-3777
Gateway Research Organization, Westlock, Alta., (780) 349-4546
Lakeland Agricultural Research Association, Bonnyville, Alta., (780) 826-7260
Smoky Applied Research and Demonstration Association, Falher, Alta., (780) 837-2900
West Central Forage Association, Evansburg, Alta., (780) 727-4447
North Peace Applied Research Association, Manning Alta., (780) 836-5230
Peace Country Beef and Forage, Fairview, Alta., (780) 835-6799
Government of Alberta (ARD)
A & L Canada Laboratories Inc.
Association of Alberta Co-op Seed Cleaning Plants
Alberta Seed Growers’ Association
This is the fifth year the groups have conducted forage testing of various varieties. The tables show the sum-maries from the last two years as compared to the control variety (in bold). Test Yield categories are similar to the crop variety tables and are further explained below.
Varieties of barley, oats, triticale and peas commonly used for silage, greenfeed and swath grazing were included in the trial as well as new varieties showing good potential for these uses. The cereal trials, (Barley, Oats & Triticale), were seeded at recommended seeding density rates and at recommended fertility; and its objective was to determine yield and nutritional values. The pulse mixture trial looked at increasing the nutritional value of silage, as well as decreasing nitrogen costs. Thus, the pulse mix plots were seeded with 50 pounds of 11-52-0-0 only, while the monoculture cereal comparison plots were fertilized with 50 per cent of the recommended cereal rates. Peas were seeded at 75 per cent of their recommended seeding rate and cereals at 50 per cent when in mixtures. The monoculture cereal comparison plots were seeded at 100 per cent the recommended seeding rate.
Test Yield Categories
The defined range for each Test Yield Category is provided in tons per acre. Variety yields are reported as average yields in Low, Medium and High Test Yield Categories for comparison with the check for productivity regimes and environments that may be anticipated. Varieties that are statistically higher (+) or lower (–) yielding than the standard check are indicated. No symbol after the yield figure indicates that there is no statistical difference. Caution is advised when interpreting the data with respect to new varieties that have not been fully tested.
To make effective use of the yield comparison tables, producers first need to decide if their target yield for the season fits within the Low, Medium or High Test Yield categories. It should be noted that the indicated yield levels are those from small plot trials, which are often 15 to 20 per cent higher than yields expected under commercial production. Also remember that yield is not the only factor that affects net return. Be sure to consider the other important agronomic and disease resistance characteristics. The genetic yield potential of a variety is often masked by various crop management factors, some of which can be controlled.
There were 12 sites across the province, representing various agrological zones. Sites were located near Castor, Stettler, Fort Kent, High Prairie, Evansburg, Hanna, Manning, Fairview, St. Paul, Stony Plain, and Neerlandia. The Fairview site only seeded the barley trial. Maturity, plant height and lodging were not measured in the trials as it was felt that most have already gone through the Cereal RVT program, and have been extensively reported on.
Nutrition was assessed using wet chemistry analysis. Full nutritional analysis was done on each sample, however, we have only reported on six nutritional categories; crude protein (CP), total digestible nutrients (TDN) which is an estimation of energy, calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), potassium (K) and magnesium (Mg).