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

Updated: May 25

Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye

Location: Fairview Research Farm, RR #35 (MD of Fairview)

From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2013 Annual Report

Following the establishment of the perennial forage demonstration plots in 2010 in Fairview, the plots have continued to provide us with necessary data on agronomic adaptation, dry matter (DM) yield and nutritive value of the over 40 grass and legume species and varieties. The PCBFA Annual Reports for 2010, 2011 and 2012 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, each forage variety was divided into three sections. These sections were cut at different times during the summer months of 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Plots Management and Measurements in 2013

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

Fertility - Soil tests were carried out on both blocks in early spring at a depth of 0-6”. The test results showed sufficient amounts of N, P, K and S for plant growth, so no additional fertilizer was applied in 2013.

Weed Control – No weed control was necessary for any of the grasses. Hand pulling of a few weeds from both grass and legume plots was done early in the season. After the June cut, the whole legume block was sprayed with Basagran Forte at the rate of 0.91L/ac at 45L water volume.

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. In 2012 and 2013, the first, second and third sections were respectively cut: (1) in first week of June (1 cut only - June only), (2) first week of June & first week of August (2 cuts) and (3) first week of August (1 cut - August only) for DM yield and feed value determination. Following forage sampling with quadrants, a sickle mower was used to cut the remainder of the cut section. Six top grasses and top 7 legumes were selected based on DM yields, winter hardness and early spring growth and had their feed quality determined. 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.