Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye
Collaborating Producer: Lawrence & Lori Andruchiw, Happy Valley (Saddle Hills County)
From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2013 Annual Report
Corn is known as a forage crop that has the potential of yielding more energy per acre than any other forage crop in areas of western Canada, which have suitable heat units to get corn to the required half milk line stage for silage or grazing. Additionally, corn has an advantage as a winter grazing crop because it stands above the snow, and it stands up in windy conditions as well as providing a windbreak for cattle grazing it. Using live-stock to graze corn reduces the need for investing in harvest and feeding equipment. With the potential to produce more than 10 tons of forage dry matter to the acre, few annual crops can compare to corn in terms of dry-matter (DM) yield per acre and cost per pound of gain.
The trial was carried out at Double LA Farms (Lawrence & Lori Andruchiw) in the Happy Valley area, near Spirit River, Saddle Hills County. The site (27 acres) had corn varieties tested on it the year before and was grazed with 77 cows and 2 bulls.
On May 21, 2013, five corn varieties (39F44, 39M26, 2501RR, Fusion R, DKC26-28) with varied corn heat units were seeded with a 6-row corn planter. Fertility according to soil tests consisted of 84 N + 37 P + 0K + 8 S (actual nutrient lbs/acre). Roundup was used to control weeds @0.67 L/ac on June 25.
On October 7, forage yield was determined from harvesting four 17.5ft long corn rows per corn hybrid. Some corn plants were chopped with a wood chipper for determination of moisture content and feed value in a commercial laboratory. Dry matter (DM) yield was later calculated for each corn hybrid. On the sampling day, the numbers of cobs per plant, cob maturity and final stand count were also determined.