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Performance of 15 Perennial Forage Legumes in High Prairie

Written by: Buthaina Al-Maqtari & Akim Omokanye,

Location: Bill Fevang's Farm - High Prairie

With Collaboration from: Smokey Applied Research & Demonstration Association (SARDA)

From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2019 Annual Report

A selection of perennial forages species and varieties were seeded in 2016 at Bill Fevang’s farm in High Prairie to evaluate establishment, yield and nutritional quality. Trial treatments were divided into 3 blocks: Grasses (12 entries), Legumes (15 entries) and Grass/Legume Mixes (9 entries). Data was collected from the sites in 2017 and 2018. Growth was challenged at some sites by adverse conditions both at seeding time and in the 2 years following seeding. Information collected in 2017 and 2018 are available in the PCBFA Annual Report for those years. The project is aiming to improve grazing and forage mixtures that optimize hay yield and beef production. In this report, forage yield and quality of 15 perennial legumes are presented.

The plots were replicated 4 times in a randomized complete block design. The following forage legumes were seeded:

The forage legumes have been planted in small plots using a plot drill.

This year, the legumes were harvested on July 19.


Forage Dry Matter (DM) Yield

Assault St alfalfa, Rangelander and Yellowhead alfalfa had higher forage DM forage yield than other legumes(Table 1). On the other hand, Nova Sainfoin and AC mountain sainfoin had significantly lower DM yield than other legumes.

Forage Quality

The forage CP was highest for Nova Sainfoin (16.6 CP%), closely followed by 44-44 Alfalfa (15.6 CP%) and Dalton Alfalfa (15.4 %CP) (Table 1). Out of the 15 legumes tested, nine of them had a CP% of 14% or more. The lowest CP% was from Assult St (12.74 CP%). Overall, the legumes had all exceeded the protein needs of mature beef cattle.

Forage macro minerals (Ca, P, Mg, K, Na, S) were generally high for the forage legumes tested. In most cases, Rugged alfalfa, AC Mountainview Sainfoin and Nova sainfoin produced the higher forage macro minerals than other legumes (Table 1). Forage trace minerals (Cu, Fe, Zn, Mn) were in most cases higher for Veldt cicer milkvetch, rugged and Rangelander alfalfa than other legumes.

The forage total digestible nutrient (TDN) was higher than 58% for Oxley 2 Cicer Milkvetch, Veldt cicer vetch milk, AC mountainview sainfoin, and Nova Sainfoin (Table 1). The lowest TDN level was for Spredor Alfalfa (52.3 TDN%). In a similar trend to TDN, the forage net energy for maintenance (NEM), Net energy for gain (NEG) was highest for Oxley 2 Cicer Milkvetch, Veldt cicer vetch milk, AC Mountainview sainfoin, and Nova Sainfoin.

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