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Annual Crop Mixtures for Beef Swath Grazing and Dairy Silage

Trial Site: Fairview Research Farm

Collaborator: Devesh Singh, Barenbrug USA, Director of Research

Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye

From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2016 Annual Report

Swath grazing is a management practice that can be used to extend the grazing season and to reduce feed, labor and manure handling costs for cattle producers. The practice may also eliminate or reduce the costs for corral cleaning, manure spreading and feed handling. Producers have looked at a number of crops for silage production. Oats, barley and triticale have traditionally been the most widely used cereals for swath grazing and silage. Livestock may be able to obtain all or part of their winter feed requirements through swath grazing. The objective of this study was to test annual forage crop types and their mixtures on forage production for beef swath grazing & dairy silage. The project is being carried out in collaboration with Barenbrug Seed Company, which is based out of the States.


The study site was at the Fairview Research Farm (NW5-82-3W6) on RR #35, MD of Fairview. Soil test at 0-6” soil depth done at Exova laboratory (Edmonton) prior to seeding showed an organic matter content of 7.1%, a pH of 5.5 (acidic), an electrical conductivity of 0.35 dS/m and a base saturation of 55.2%. The field was cultivated before seeding.

Thirteen (13) treatments which are listed in Table 1 were arranged in a randomized complete block design in 4 replications. We used small plots measuring 11.04 m2 (118.8 ft2).

The 13 treatments consisted of 5 mono-crops & 8 crop mixtures and their respective seeding rates for the purpose of testing them for beef swath grazing and dairy silage are shown in Table 1 below.

Table 1. Annual crops and their mixtures for beef swath grazing and dairy silage