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On-farm Testing of Triticale and Corn for Extending the Grazing Season

Updated: May 25

Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye

Collaborating producer: John Prinse (MD of Big Lakes)

From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2014 Annual Report

Over the past few years there has been much interest in growing corn for grazing in the Peace, especially for use as late fall and winter grazing. Corn is a warn season annual cereal crop. Corn is rated according to the number of accumulated heat units required to reach grain maturity. Ideal grazing or silage stage may be reached at 180-200 corn heat units (CHUs) less than the grain maturity. Studies at Lacombe Research Centre have shown that swath grazing triticale can save a producer time, money and machinery costs. Research indicates that swath grazing can reduce total daily feeding costs per cow by 41 to 48%. This is based on a 78% reduction in yardage costs and a 25% reduction in feed costs. In 2014, tested corn hybrids with low CHUs compared with triticale for forage yield and quality, and for use in extending the grazing season.


The study took place at John Prinse’s farm at Enilda, near High Prairie. The site had been used for swath grazing for a few years prior to the present study. Spring soil sample (0-6 inches) analyzed by Exova laboratory in Edmonton showed 13.9% OM and a pH of 6.6. The soil had marginal N, optimum P & S, and excess K required for crop growth. The soil was not tilled before seeding.

3 Pioneer corn hybrids: P732AM-R (2200 CHU), 39M26 (2100 CHU), and P7213R (2050 CHU)) were seeded on May 24 for a targeted 30,000 kernels/acre (or 1 corn bag/2.5 acres). Seeding was done with a John Deere 752 no till disk drill @ 22” row spacing. Fertility was a blend of 46-0-0 (206 lbs/acre) + 11-52-0 (48 lbs/acre). No K and S were applied as the soil had sufficient amounts for corn for the year. Weeds in the corn stands were controlled with roundup.

Bunker triticale, a forage variety was seeded at 120 lbs/acre on May 25 with a John Deere 752 no till disk drill @ 7.5” row spacing. About 20 acres was used for the triticale. Bunker is an awnletted (reduced awn expression) standard height spring triticale line that can be use as a feed grain and conserved forage. Fertility was 174 lbs/acre blend (116 lbs of 46-0-0 + 57 lbs of 11-52-0).

Swathing was done on September 16 at the mid-dough stage for triticale. The swathed triticale was grazed for about 30 days with 100 cows (80 cow/calf pairs + 20 bred heifers). The plan is to have the field grazed again in the spring. The corn hybrids were also grazed with the same set of cows. The cows were allowed to graze about a day and a half per acre.