Trial Site: Fairview Research Farm
Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye
From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2017 Annual Report
Triticale has the potential to introduce valuable economic benefits to forage production systems. Triticale is a very important alternative forage crop to increase cultivated forage crop areas, due to its great adaptation capacity. Triticale can be used for silage and swath grazing, and can be included in cocktail mixtures for beef cattle production. Earlier studies by McCartney & Vaage at AgCanada showed that a silage yield advantage of around 10% over barley and oats under dryland conditions could make triticale an excellent choice for livestock producers. Triticale also does well under stress, showing good yields in marginal lands, or in drought conditions. Several years of studies by PCBFA & SARDA in parts of the Peace Country have shown that triticale generally ranks between barley and oats for silage quality. In studies comparing to a general purpose or feed wheat or barley, triticale showed superior yields. In addition to the report presented here, results from this site and other parts of the province will also be reported in the Alberta Seed Guide (www.seed.ab.ca).
The objective of the present study was to determine forage yield and quality of different triticale cultivars for beef cattle production.
Project Site: Fairview Research Farm (NW5-82-3W6) on RR #35, MD of Fairview.
Previous crop: Alfalfa for over 10 years before spraying out in 2016 (chemical fallow)
Site soil information (0-6” depth): Soil tests done at Exova laboratory (Edmonton) prior to seeding showed pH = 5.8 and soil organic matter = 7.0 %.
The field was cultivated (disked and harrowed) before seeding.
Experimental Design: Randomized complete block design in 4 replications.
Treatments: The following 4 spring triticale varieties and one soft white spring wheat variety were tested in 2017:
1. Tyndal triticale
2. Bunker triticale
3. Taza triticale
4. Sunray triticale
5. AAC Chiffon soft white wheat
Seeding Date & Rate: Seeding was done on May 30 at 370 plants/m2 (34.3 plants/ft2 )
Seeding method: 6-row Fabro plot drill with 9” row spacing Fertility (actual lbs/acre): 89 N + 50 P + 29 K + 24 S
Plot size: 11.04 m2 (118.8 ft2 )
Spraying: In-crop spraying was done once with Curtail M (800 ml/acre) + Fluroxyoyr (170ml/acre)
Measurements taken at late milk stage on August 15: height, lodging, forage yield & forage quality.
Results and Interpretation
Forage DM Yield (Table 1)
The forage DM yield was similar for all triticales and the soft white wheat tested. Forage DM yield varied from 7539-8150 lbs/acre.
Forage Quality (Table 1)
Crude Protein (CP): The forage CP was also similar for all triticales and the soft white wheat tested and the forage CP varied from 9.00-10.5 % CP.
Protein is a building block. 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% in mid pregnancy, 9% in late pregnancy and 11% after calving. The forage CP for all of the varieties tested here was adequate for a dry gestating beef cow from mid to late pregnancy. None of the varieties had adequate CP for a lactating beef cow.
Energy: Energy gives the ability to use the building blocks for growth and other productive purposes. The forage total digestible nutrients (TDN, %) was similar for all triticales and soft white wheat tested, with forage TDN varying only from about 65-68%.
The forage TDN content obtained here for all varieties was adequate for a mature beef cow. Also, forage net energy for maintenance (NEM) values obtained for all varieties exceeded the 1.19-1.28 Mcal/kg NEM requirements of mature beef cattle. The forage NEM values obtained for all varieties fell within the 1.08-2.29 Mcal/kg NEM suggested for young beef cattle.
Minerals: The forage macro minerals (Ca, P, K, Mg and S) and trace minerals (Cu, Fe, Zn and Mn) measured here had similar contents for all varieties tested.
All varieties had sufficient amounts of Ca, P (except for AAC Chiffon) and Mg for a dry gestating beef cow. None of the varieties were able to meet the Ca and P requirements of a lactating beef cow.
Except for Taza and Bunker triticale varieties, the S requirements of a mature beef cow have been met by most triticale varieties and the soft white wheat.
The K requirements of mature beef cattle at different physiological stages were met by all varieties.
None of the varieties were able to consistently meet the mature beef cow’s trace mineral requirements.
Because of the inconsistencies of any particular variety in meeting the mineral requirements of mature beef cattle, some form of commercial mineral supplement would be required.
Triticale for swath grazing is one of the available options for beef cattle producers to extend fall grazing in parts of the Peace Region of Alberta. The varieties tested here met the protein requirements and exceeded the energy requirements for dry gestating beef cows. In general, taking into consideration the similarities in forage DM yield, CP and TDN of all triticales and the soft white wheat tested, any of the triticales and the soft white wheat tested here can be grown for silage, swath grazing or inclusion in annual crop cocktail mixtures for silage, grazing or greenfeed in the area. The triticale/soft white wheat varieties were not consistent in meeting some of the mineral requirements of growing and finishing beef cattle, dry gestating and lactating cows. Because of these inconsistencies, some form of commercial mineral supplement would be required.