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Forage DM Yield and Nutritional Value of Oat Varieties Harvested at 3 Stages of Maturity

Trial Site: Fairview Research Farm

Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye

From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2016 Annual Report

Producers in Alberta harvest significant acreage of annual crops for greenfeed and silage every year. There are specific requirements for hay for the export market that are different from usual on-farm requirements. These include earlier cutting times, green hay colour, low moisture content, freedom from weeds and thin-strawed varieties. Studies elsewhere have shown that some oat varieties do not meet the exporters’ standard. Export markets demand bright green, dry hay. Selecting appropriate oat cutting time is critical in achieving this standard whilst maintaining oat hay yield and quality. For us in Alberta, the recommended harvest stage for oat is early to late milk stage. Some export processors however may prefer oat hay cut at a different development stage. In 2016, three forage type oat varieties were selected and compared at the various growth stages by PCBFA.


The study site was at the Fairview Research Farm (NW5-82-3W6) on RR #35, MD of Fairview. The site had soybeans in 2015. Soil test at 0-6” soil depth done at Exova laboratory (Edmonton) prior to seeding showed an organic matter content of 7.3%, a pH of 5.4 (acidic) and an electrical conductivity of 0.58 dS/m. The field was cultivated before seeding.

We used randomized complete block design in 4 replications in small plots.

Treatments: 3 forage type oat varieties (CDC Baler, CDC Haymaker, AC Mustang) were seeded and harvested at 3 stages of maturity (boot, heading, milk). AC Mustang is a feed oat but commonly used for silage or greenfeed.

We seeded 300 plants/m2 (27.8 plants/ft2). A 6-row Fabro plot drill at 9” row spacing was used to seed. Seed-ing was done on May 16.

Fertility according to soil tests (actual lbs/acre): 0 N + 33 P + 47 K + 0 S (broadcast). Soil test showed adequate amounts of N & S for the crop, so N & S were not applied.

Spraying: Roundup WeatherMAX® was used as pre-emergent 7 days after seeding. In-crop spraying was done with 2, 4 - D 700 at 0.35 L/acre. Rouging was done a few times.

Measurements taken:

  • Prior to harvest at the boot stage, stand assessment was done for stand uniformity.