Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye
Location: High Prairie Airport (MD of Big Lakes)
From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2013 Annual Report
The forage plots in High Prairie is one of the two PCBFA perennial forage plots established in 2010 in the Peace Region. The site has continued to provide us with necessary data on agronomic adaptation, dry matter (DM) yield and nutritive value for the 32 grass and legume species and varieties seeded in 2010. 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.
Management and Measurements in 2013
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 - Broadcast of 67.5 lbs actual N/acre was done on the entire plot of grasses. No fertilizer application was made on the legume plots.
Weed Control – The grass species plots were sprayed once with Curtail M at the rate of 0.7 L/acre @40L water volume and the legumes also sprayed once with Basagran Forte at the rate of 0.91 L/ac at 45 L water volume. Hand weeding was occasionally done.
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 winter kill 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. Forage DM yield estimation was done using two randomly placed 0.5m x 0.5m quadrats in each plot. Following forage sampling with quadrats, a sickle mower was used to cut the remainder of the cut section. Yearly, the 6 top grasses and top 7 legumes were selected based on DM yields, winter hardiness 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.
Results and Discussion
Grasses (Figure 1)