Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye
Location: Fairview Research Farm
From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2019 Annual Report
Some perennial grasses were established in Fairview in 2018. This report is intended to provide an insight into their performance one year after establishment.
The forages were established on the north side of Fairview Research Farm (NW 5-82-3 W6M) on RR #35, MD of Fairview. The site was left fallow in 2017, but had oats for greenfeed in 2016.
Soil tests from 0-6” soil interval showed an organic matter of 5.2%, a pH of 5.5 and an electrical conductivity of 0.37 dS/m. The soil had 73 lbs N/acre, 29 lbs P/ac, 398 lbs K/ac and 25 lbs S/ac.
We used randomized complete block design with 3 replicates.
The following 16 perennial grasses were seeded on May 31, 2018:
CARLTON SMOOTH BROMEGRASS CATAPULT TIMOTHY
MBA MEADOW BROMEGRASS ALMA TIMOTHY
AC KNOWLES BROMEGRASS SHEEP FESCUE
FLEET MEADOW BROMEGRASS COURTNEY TALL FESCUE
TALL FESCUE/MEADOW FESCUE (MILKWAY) HPS TALL FESCUE
INTERMEDIATE WHEATGRASS CRESTED WHEATGRASS (FAIRWAY)
SLENDER WHEATGRASS (REVENUE) CREEK - ORCA ORCHARD GRASS
GREENLEAF PUBESCENT WHEATGRASS KILLARNEY ORCHARD GRASS
· Small plot size measuring 1.8 m x 8 m was used.
· No fertilizer was applied as the soil tests indicated sufficient amounts of most nutrients.
· A pressed burn off was done with glyphosate. In-crop spraying was completed during crop growth with Curtail M.
· Harvest date: July 4, 2019
Forage DM yield - The grasses had forage DM yield varying from 2,202 - 5,153 lbs/acre (Table 1). Seven of the 16 grasses had >4000 lbs DM/acre, while others produced <4000 lbs DM/acre. The forage DM yield is considered to be generally low and this likely was the result of the initial dry soil moisture conditions at some point earlier in the growing season.
Forage Quality - Generally, the forage CP of the grasses was 11% CP or more (Table 1), which means that the 11% CP requirements by mature beef cattle have been met by these grasses. Alma timothy had the most CP (16% CP), followed by Courtney tall fescue (15.0% CP) and Killarney orchard grass and fleet meadow bromegrass (each with 14% CP).
The forage energy (%TDN) varied from 62.5 - 72.6 % TDN (Table 1). Except for 3 grasses (sheep fescue, Revenue slender wheatgrass and Greenleaf pubescent wheatgrass), the grasses tested had adequate %TDN for mature beef cattle. Fescue, Revenue slender wheatgrass and Greenleaf pubescent wheatgrass were able to meet the %TDN requirements of dry gestating beef cows.
Minerals (Table 1) - None of the grasses had sufficient Na for mature beef cattle that require 0.1% Na. The grasses generally had <0.06% Na.
The forage Ca was as high as 0.78% Ca. Greenleaf pubescent wheatgrass slightly fell short of the 0.58% Ca needed by mature beef cattle. All other grasses exceeded the 0.58% Ca recommended for mature beef cattle.
Only 3 of the grasses were not able to meet the 0.26% P suggested for mature beef cattle. The forage P varied from 0.23 - 0.32% P.
All grasses had sufficient %K for mature beef cattle.
The forage Mg varied from 0.18 - 0.29% Mg. Only 5 of the grasses could meet the 0.2% Mg needed by mature beef cattle.
Overall, orca orchard grass, Killarney orchard grass, alma timothy, Courtney tall fescue, intermediate wheatgrass, Carlton smooth bromegrass, MBA meadow bromegrass and fleet meadow bromgrass have been able to completely meet the Ca, P, K and Mg requirements of mature beef cattle. Because of the inability of some grasses tested here to meet all the mineral requirements of mature beef cattle, it is essential to have free choice minerals when grazing any of the grasses tested here.