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Forage Yield and Quality of Forage Oat Varieties Harvested at Two Stages of Maturity

Updated: May 12

Collaborators: Smoky Applied Research Association (SARDA) & Fevang Farms, High Prairie

Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye

From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2011 Annual Report

Beef cattle producers commonly use annual cereals for silage, greenfeed and swath grazing. In Alberta, oats account for more than 40% of total annual greenfeed production. Annual crops can provide emergency or supplementary forage in all parts of the Peace. They are easy to seed, establish quickly and can provide pasture later in the growing season when perennial production is decreasing and demand is at its highest. The objective of this project is to examine the effects of maturity of forage yield and quality of forage oat varieties.


The trial was done in collaboration with SARDA. The plots were located at Fevang Farms near High Prairie on canola stubble. Prior to seeding, the plots got a pre-seed weed control operation. The treatments were replicated 4 times, using a randomized complete block design to lay out the small plots (10 m long, 6 rows at 9 inch spacing). Nine forage oat varieties were seeded on May 20, 2011 with a plot drill. The site was harrowed in the spring and each variety seeded at 250 plants/m2 (actual weight based on thousand kernel weight and germination). Fertilizer was applied at 50 lb N/ac, 30 lb P2O5/ac, 20 lb K2O/ac, 30 lb S/ac (using seed placed 11-52-0, and side banded 46-0-0, 20-0-024, and 0-0-60). Herbicide application: June 22, 0.18 L/ac Prestige A + 0.8 L/ac Prestige B.

The nine forage oat varieties seeded were: CDC Baler – forage oat, very leafy. Everleaf – new forage oat, extremely wide leaves. Foothills – older forage type variety, finer stemmed, tall growing, high palatability. AC Jordan – new feed/milling/forage oat, high silage and grain yield, large seed size. AC Morgan – high yielding, later maturing milling oat, commonly used for silage or greenfeed. AC Mustang – feed oat. Murphy – forage oat, high silage yield, stands tall. Waldern – feed oat, high silage yield. SO1 – bred in Saskatchewan, SO-I (CDC Super Oats, variety number one) is a new forage/feed oat variety. It is excellent feed oat for backgrounding cattle, very digestible, high fat content, does not need to be rolled. In order to determine the maturity stage at harvest that optimizes the yield and quality of the oat varieties for swath grazing or greenfeed systems, the oats were harvested at two maturity stages (late milk and dough). For forage DM yield estimation and feed quality tests, the late milk stage, forage was harvested August 5, and for the dough stage, harvesting was done August 26.