Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye
Location: Mack Erno's Farm - Teepee Creek
From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2019 Annual Report
In the Peace Country region, the most common annual crops for forage production are barley and oats. These are mostly grown as monocultures. The use of soft white wheat and triticale for swath grazing has been gaining popularity in the region. Producers also use mixtures of cereals and pulses (e.g. oats or barley with peas) for forage production. Cover crop cocktails for livestock production have been gaining popularity in the region. Producers have many different options to choose from when it comes to cocktail cover crop species and each species has different abilities to provide some agronomic benefits and ecosystems services depending on root and plant structure and physiology. Also, here in the Peace, there has been increasing interest on the use of alternative forages (such as sorghum Sudan grass and proso millet) for livestock. This year, we demonstrated several forage-type cereals, annual forage legumes and cover crop cocktails for their forage potential in Teepee Creak.
The study site was at Mack Erno’s farm, at Teepee Creek. The site was divided and seeded to peas, cocktails, cereal crops and annul forage legumes in 2018.
A total of 15 forage-type cereal/annual grass crops, which consisted of the following were demonstrated:
1. JAPANESE MILLET - seeded at 25 lbs/acre
2. RED PROSO MILLET - seeded at 25 lbs/acre
3. SORGHUM SUDAN Grass - seeded at 30 lbs/acre
4. PARAMOUNT SOFT - seeded at 370 plants/m2 (34.3 plants/ft2)
5. AC ANDREW SOFT - seeded at 370 plants/m2 (34.3 plants/ft2)
6. HITKOR FESTULOLIUM - seeded at 20 lbs/acre
7. PERUN FESTULOLIUM - seeded at 20 lbs/acre
8. BARFEST FESTULOLIUM - seeded at 20 lbs/acre
9. FIRKIN RYEGRASS - seeded at 12 lbs/acre
10. TETRA BRAND ANNUAL - seeded at 12 lbs/acre
11. SABROSO ANNUAL - seeded at 12 lbs/acre
12. PRIMA FALL RYE - seeded at 75 lbs/acre
13. BUNKER TRITICALE - seeded at 370 plants/m2 (34.3 plants/ft2)
14. RED SIBERIAN MILLET - seeded at 25 lbs/acre
15. CDC MAVERICK BARLEY - seeded at 300 plants/m2 (27.8 plants/ft2)
A total of 13 annual forage legumes were demonstrated and the legumes are listed below:
1. CDC Horizon peas - seeded at 90 plants/m2 (8.3 plants/ft2)
2. 40-10 forage peas - seeded at 90 plants/m2 (8.3 plants/ft2)
3. CDC Jasper peas - seeded at 90 plants/m2 (8.3 plants/ft2)
4. CDC Meadow peas - seeded at 90 plants/m2 (8.3 plants/ft2)
5. Crimson clover - seeded at 15 lbs/acre
6. Frosty berseem clover - seeded at 15 lbs/acre
7. Subterranean clover - seeded at 25 lbs/acre
8. Winner brand berseem - seeded at 15 lbs/acre
9. Laser brand Persian clover - seeded at 5 lbs/acre
10. Ebena common vetch - seeded at 20 lbs/acre
11. Hairy vetch - seeded at 20 lbs/acre
12. Chickling vetch - seeded at 60 lbs/acre
13. Serradella - seeded at 3.5 lbs/acre
We also demonstrated the following cover crop cocktails listed in Table 1 below:
Annual Forage Legumes
The highest forage DM yield was from CDC Jasper forage peas with 6,435 lbs/acre, while the lowest forage DM yield came from Serradella (857 lbs/acre). Generally, forage peas tested here (CDC Horizon, 40-10, CDC Jasper and CDC Meadow) produced higher forage DM yield than other annual forage legume species and varieties (Table 2). Of the 5 clovers tested, Winner brand berseem clover produced the highest forage DM yield (5,660 lbs/acre). Subterranean clover produced the lowest forage DM of 952 lbs/acre.
The forage CP was highest for hairy vetch with 27.5% CP (Table 2). Generally, all legumes had >13% CP, an indication that the requirements of 7-9-11% CP by a beef cow in mid-pregnancy, late-pregnancy and during lactation, respectively have all been met and also exceeded by these legumes.
The forage energy (%TDN) seemed to be mostly higher generally for forage peas than other annual forage legumes (Table 2). The forage TDN varied from 58.1% for crimson clover to 73.4% for CDC Meadow peas. Eight of the annual forage legumes tested seemed to fall short of meeting the 65% TDN requirements of mature beef cattle.
Forage-type Cereal/Annual Grass Crops
The forage DM yield varied from 1,716 lbs/acre for sorghum Sudan grass to 9,442 lbs/acre for AC Andrew soft white spring wheat (Table 2). The 2 soft white spring wheats and bunker triticale produced higher forage DM yield than other forage-type cereal/annual grass crops tested within this trial.
Only 5 of the forage-type cereal/annual grass crops had up to the 11% CP needed by mature beef cattle. Other forage-type cereal/annual grass crops were only either able to meet the CP requirements of a dry gestating beef cow in mid-pregnancy (that needs 7% CP) or late-pregnancy (9% CP) or both.
The 3 Festulolium varieties, Firkin Italian ryegrass and Prima fall rye had higher forage energy content (73.0 - 82.2% TDN) than other forage-type cereal/annual grass crops (64.1 - 69.5% TDN). Overall, all forage-type cereal/annual grass crops tested (except for red Siberian millet) had adequate TDN for mature and young beef cattle.
Cover Crop Cocktails
Cocktail 4 produced the highest forage DM yield (11,140 lbs/acre)
The forage CP was generally above 11% for all cocktails and intercrops.
Overall, all cocktails and intercrops have been impressive in terms of the levels of forage protein and energy and they have also been able to exceed the protein and energy requirements of young and mature beef cattle in most cases.