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Perennial Forage Demonstration in Fairview: Yield & Feed Value Following Second Year of Cutting

Location: Fairview Research Farm

Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye

From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2012 Annual Report

The forage demonstration plots in Fairview continue to provide us with necessary data on agronomic adaptation, dry matter (DM) yield and nutritive value of the over 40 forage species and varieties. The PCBFA Annual Reports for 2010 and 2011 have information regarding seeding, management and some reports on DM yield and quality as well as the selenium contents of selected forage varieties. In 2011, all plots were divided into three sections. These sections were cut at different times during the summer months of 2011 and 2012.

Management and Measurement in 2012

There are 2 separate blocks of grasses and legumes. Varieties used for comparison were: Fleet meadow bromegrass & Carlton smooth bromegrass (grasses); Anik, Peace & Algonquin alfalfa varieties (legumes).

Fertility - Soil tests were carried out from both blocks in early spring at a depth of 0-6”. The test results showed sufficient amounts of N, P, K and S for the year 2012, so no additional fertilizer was applied in 2012.

Weed Control – The plots were sprayed on June 4, 2012. The grass block was sprayed with Curtail M at the rate of 0.7L/ac @ 40L water volume and the legume block was sprayed with Basagran Forte at the rate of 0.91L/ac at 45L water volume. Hand weeding of plots was done twice.

Winter Kill - Notes on winter kill were taken early in the spring by assessing crown and root health and any damages done. Plants suffering from winterkill would normally have soft and fibrous crowns.

Plant Growth, Cutting and Recovery Following Cutting Treatments – In 2011, each forage variety plot measuring 2.5m x 17m was divided into three sections. The first, second and third sections were respectively cut in June (1 cut - June only), June & August (2 cuts) and August (1 cut - August only) for DM yield and feed value determination. Forage sampling for DM yield estimation was carried out using two randomly placed 0.5m x 0.5m quadrats in the cut section. Following forage sampling with quadrats, a sickle mower was used to cut the remainder of the cut section. Forage samples of the 6 top grasses and top 7 legumes were selected based on DM yields, winter kill and early spring growth were sent for feed tests. The following forages from the late cut (August only) were analyzed for selenium content: Tall fescue, Anik alfalfa, Carlton smooth bromegrass, Fleet meadow bromegrass, Algonquin alfalfa, and timothy.