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Evaluation of Low Heat Unit Corn Hybrids Compared to Barley for Grazing

Updated: May 12

Location: Fairview Research Farm

Collaborator: Dr. Bart Lardner, Western Beef Development Centre (WBDC), Humbolt Saskatchewan

Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye

From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2012 Annual Report

Corn is an option for producers looking to extend the grazing season and reduce feed costs per cow per day. Continued interest in corn varieties for late fall and winter grazing has led the Western Beef Development Centre (WBDC) to develop a protocol to evaluate different varieties of corn hybrids with low heat units in comparison with AC Ranger barley. The main objective is to evaluate 3 different corn varieties (1 Monsanto; 1 Pioneer; 1 Hyland) and 1 forage barley (Ranger) for quality and yield grown at 4 different sites in the Parkland area of Western Canada. The project started in the spring of 2012 and is taking place at 4 locations: 2 in Saskatchewan at Melfort and Glaslyn; 2 locations in Alberta at Evansburg and Fairview. Here, the results of forage yield and nutritive value of 3 corn hybrids and AC Ranger barley planted in Fairview this year are being presented.


The trial took place at the Fairview Research Farm (RR #35, MD of Fairview). The site was left to fallow in the summer of 2011, but had a canola variety trial in 2010. Prior to seeding, a soil test was done for N, P, K and S and then the site was harrowed a few times. The site had a pH of 5.2 and 8.1% organic matter.

There were 4 treatments: (i) Monsanto corn hybrid DKC 26-25; (ii) Pioneer corn hybrid P7443R; (iii) Hyland corn hybrid 2D093; (iv) "AC Ranger" barley. AC Ranger is a feed barley and has smooth awns. The treatments were arranged in a randomized complete block design with four replications. Plot size was 3.81m x 14m. There was a 0.5m gap between treatment plots and a-3m gap between replications.

Corn and barley were both seeded on May 28, 2012. Con hybrids were seeded with a 6-row Pioneer corn planter (at a row spacing of 30 inches) at 30,000 seeds/acre at 1.5-2.0 inch depth. There was only 1 planter pass per corn hybrid plot. For the AC Ranger barley plots, a 7-row plot drill (spaced at 7 inches between rows) was used. Barley was seeded at 100 lb/acre to a seeding depth of about 1.5 inches. Just before seeding, corn plots were fertilized with 100 lb actual N/acre + 40 lb actual P/acre, while the barley plots received 40 lb actual N/acre + 23 lb actual P/acre. The fertilizer was drilled into the plots using a small plot drill.