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Regional Silage Variety Trial 2019: Spring Triticale & Soft White Wheat Varieties

Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye

Location: Fairview Research Farm

From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2019 Annual Report


Triticale is a small-grain cereal developed to combine the quality and uniformity attributes of wheat with the vigour and hardiness of rye. The primary advantages of triticale is that it has the ability to perform well on marginal lands and it is drought tolerant. Under dryland conditions, spring triticales are a valuable alternative to feed barley and oats. Soft white wheat is becoming more popular for silage and feed in the Peace Country with Sadash being one of the few varieties that is being harvested for grain in the Peace. Earlier studies by PCBFA showed that soft white wheat have had some great forage potential . As part of the Regional Silage Trials (RSTs), several varieties of both triticale and soft white wheat are always being tested for forage yield and quality in Fairview. The RSTs generates scientifically sound crop variety performance information to livestock producers, industry and extension specialists. In addition to the findings of the crop variety trial from Fairview being presented here, the results from the RSTs across the different trial sites in the province will also be reported in the Alberta Seed Guide (www.seed.ab.ca).

Objective

To identify spring triticale and soft white wheat varieties with better forage yield and quality for greenfeed and silage for livestock production.

Methods

Experimental Site: Fairview Research Farm (NW-5-82-3-W6M) on RR #35, MD of Fairview.

Previous Crop: The previous crop at the site was an alfalfa hay crop for several years until the Fall of 2017. This was unseeded (chemical fallow) in 2018.

Land Preparation: In the fall of 2018, the site was sprayed with Roundup at 1.0 L/acre (to kill the existing alfalfa dominated vegetation) and plowed. The site was disced & harrowed in the spring of 2019.

Soil analysis completed in the Fall of 2018 from a soil depth of 0-6” showed an organic matter content of 8.2%, pH of 6.2 and an electrical conductivity of 0.21 ds/m. The soil test reports showed 10 lbs N/acre, 14 lbs P/acre and 485 lbs K/acre as well as 9 lb S/acre.

Spring soil moisture at seeding: 12.4% (0-5 cm soil depth) and 14.1% (0-20 cm soil depth).

Spring soil temperature a Seeding: 9.19°C (0-5 cm soil depth) and 7.79°C (0-20 cm soil depth).

Experimental Design: Randomized Complete Block Design with 4 replications.

Treatments: 7 spring triticale varieties and 4 spring soft white wheat varieties, making a total of 11 varieties tested in 2019.

Spring Triticale: Soft White Wheat:

1. AAC DELIGHT 5. T256 1. AAC AWSOME

2. SUNRAY 6. TAZA 2. AAC PARAMOUNT

3. BUNKER 7. BREVIS 3. AC ANDREW

4. CIRCUIT 4. AC SADASH

Seeding Rate: A plant population of 370 plants/m2 (34.3 plants/ft2) was used for both triticale and soft white wheat.

Seeding date was on May 23, 2019.

Seeding Method: The seeds were sown using a Fabro plot drill equipped with disc-type openers on 9” row spacing. Six rows 8 m in length were sown per plot. Seeding depth was 0.75”.

Fertility for an average cereal crop forage yield (actual lbs/acre) was applied at: 89 N + 39 P + 0 K + 13 S. No K was applied as the soil test reports showed optimum levels of K for triticale and soft white wheat production for the year.

Spraying: Pre-emergent herbicide with StartUp (Glyphosate, 540 grams acid equivalent per litre, present as potassium salt) was applied at 0.67 L/acre. StartUp is a water soluble herbicide for non-selective weed control. In-crop herbicide application was with Prestige A (170 mL/acre) + Prestige B (800 mL/acre).

Harvesting for forage dry matter (DM) yield determination was completed on August 20 when the triticale and soft white wheat varieties were at the late milk stage. Forage samples were shipped to A & L laboratory, Ontario for forage quality determination. Plant height was taken a day before the varieties were harvested. Notes were also taken on plant lodging one day before harvest.

Rainfall received from seeding to forage harvest for the triticale and soft white wheat was 175.1 mm (or 6.89”), which was comparable to the long-term average for the same period of 176.7 mm (6.96”)



Results and Implications

Forage Moisture

The forage moisture content at harvest (late milk stage) was statistically unaffected by the triticale and soft white wheat varieties tested. The forage moisture content at the late milk stage varied from 67.2 - 71.1% (Table1).


Forage Dry matter Yield

The forage DM yield was significantly influenced by triticale and soft white wheat varieties. The forage DM yield was highest for Circuit triticale (11,300 lbs/acre) and lowest for Bunker triticale (8,275 lbs/acre) (Table 1). AAC Delight, Brevis, Circuit and AAC Paramount were in the top 4 and each produced >5.00 tons forage DM yield/acre. Other varieties tested had <5 tons forage DM yield/acre.

Forage DM yields for triticales and soft white wheat varieties were generally >4 tons DM/acre. There is no doubt that triticale and soft white wheat have great forage potential in the Peace Country.

Forage Quality (Table 1)

The forage protein was generally 11% CP or more for triticale and soft white wheat varieties tested. Going by the Beef Cow Rule of Thumb for protein requirements of mature beef cattle, all the triticale and soft white wheat varieties tested in this trial met, and in some cases exceeded the protein requirements of mature beef cattle. The beef Cow Rule of Thumb with protein is 7-9-11, which means an average mature beef cow requires a ration with crude protein of 7 per percentcent in mid-pregnancy, 9 percent in late pregnancy and 11 percent after calving.


The forage TDN as well as other forms of energy (NEL, NEG and NEM) were not affected by triticale and soft white wheat varieties tested. Generally, the varieties tested were impressive with the amount of energy produced. The %TDN were mostly above 65% TDN, indicating the TDN requirements of mature beef cattle (55 - 65% depending on whether the cow is pregnant or lactating) and young beef cattle (65-70% TDN for calves) have generally been met by all triticales and one soft white wheats examined in this trial.

The forage Ca, P, K, Mg and Na were not statistically different for the triticales and AC Andrew (SWW). The triticales and AC Andrew had adequate Ca, P, K, Mg and Na for a dry gestating cow, but for a lactating beef cow, mineral supplementation would be needed when feeding any of these varieties because of their inability to conveniently meet the Ca, P and Mg of a lactating beef cow.

Conclusion

Generally, all tritiales and soft white wheats tested produced >4 tons DM yield/acre. The top 4 in forage DM yield are AAC Delight, Brevis and Circuit (triticale), and AAC Paramount (soft white wheat). The protein and energy levels in all triticales and soft white wheats were sufficient for mature beef cattle. The macro minerals measured here (Ca, P, K, Mg and Na) were all adequate for a dry gestating beef cow. Except for K, the macro minerals were not sufficient for a lactating beef cow. Overall, the present study shows that triticale and soft white have good forage potential and can be used for livestock production.

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