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Multi-species Cover Crop Mixtures (Cocktails) for Silage

Trial Site: Fairview Research Farm, Municipal District of Fairview

Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye

From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2016 Annual Report

Interest in the potential for a multispecies cover crop (CC) blend for silage, swath grazing and greenfeed has been growing amongst beef cattle producers in the Peace. The idea of CC mixtures (cocktails) is new, indicating that the concept of a CC cocktail mix is an area where local research for local producers is needed. Re-search elsewhere and reports from producers who have experience with CCs have shown that CCs can provide many environmental and agronomic services within agroecosystems. These include reduced soil erosion, increased biological diversity (e.g., microbes, insects), increased nutrient cycling and biological N2 fixation, increased soil organic matter (SOM), improved weed control, and increased crop yield. Forage quality of CC mixtures for beef cattle has also been reported. Legume cover crops are an essential component of good soil management. Cereals grow very quickly and provide quick ground cover. They can provide a tremendous amount of biomass that not only smothers weeds and prevents soil erosion, but also puts huge amounts of green matter, or green manure, back into the soil which improves the soil's tilth. These cover crops are nature's great nutrient recyclers. This year, we tested several cocktail mixtures for forage yield and quality.


The study site was at the Fairview Research Farm(NW5-82-3W6) on RR #35. Soil tests at 0-6” prior to seeding showed SOM of 7.1%, a pH of 5.5 (acidic) and an electrical conductivity of 0.35 dS/m.

Randomized complete block design in 3 replications was used. Thirteen (13) CC mixtures (cocktails) and a barley crop (check) were seeded. Table 1 shows cocktail mixtures seeded and each crop seeding rates.