Regional Silage Variety Trials: Spring Triticale Varieties for Silage

Trial Site: Fairview Research Farm

Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye

From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2016 Annual Report


Triticale is a cross of wheat and rye. Triticale is a cool season cover crop. Spring triticale provides an excellent high yielding alternative to barley and oat forage. Studies have shown that a silage yield advantage of around 10 percent over barley and oats under dryland conditions makes triticale an excellent choice for livestock producers. Triticale generally ranks between barley and oats for silage quality. The RSVTs help to provide in-formation with regard to the quantity and quality of annual crops cut for green-feed and silage to local producers. Triticale is later maturing than oats or barley. For greenfeed or silage, triticale should be cut at the late milk stage. Because of its aggressive root system, it promotes water penetration and erosion control during the rainy season. Use this crop to take up excess nitrogen. In addition to the findings presented here from our trial, the results from the RSVTs across the different trial sites in the province will also be reported in the Alberta Seed Guide (www.seed.ab.ca).


Methods

The study site was at the Fairview Research Farm (NW5-82-3W6) on RR #35, MD of Fairview. The site had soybeans in 2015. Soil test at 0-6” soil depth done at Exova laboratory (Edmonton) prior to seeding showed an organic matter content of 7.3%, a pH of 5.4 (acidic) and an electrical conductivity of 0.58 dS/m. The field was cultivated before seeding.


We used randomized complete block design in 4 replications. Small plots measuring 11.04 m2 (118.8 ft2) were used.

The following 5 spring triticale varieties were tested in 2016:

1. Tyndal

2. Sunray

3. Bunker

4. 94L043057

5. Taza


We seeded on May 16 at a seeding rate of 370 plants/m2 (34.3 plants ft2) with a 6-row Fabro plot drill at 9” row spacing.


Fertility according to soil tests (actual lbs/acre): we applied 0 N + 33 P + 47 K + 0 S (broadcast). Soil test showed adequate amounts of N & S for the crop, so N & S were not applied.


Spraying: Roundup WeatherMAX® was used as pre-emergent 7 days after seeding. In-crop spraying was done with 2, 4 - D 700 at 0.35 L/acre. Rouging was done a few times.


Measurements taken at late milk stage (harvest stage):

  • Prior to harvest, stand assessment for stand uniformity was done.

  • Random plants were selected for plant height measurement (up to flag leaf) at late milk stage.

  • Forage yield & quality determination: At late milk stage, plants in the 4 centre rows 10 feet long were harvested, weighed fresh, sub-sampled (about 500 grams), air dried for some days and then weighed to determine dry matter (DM) content. Forage samples were analyzed for quality using standard procedures for wet chemistry at A & L Laboratory, Toronto.

Results & Interpretation

Plant Height & Lodging

Triticale varieties differed significantly in plant height. Bunker variety grew taller (100 cm) than other triticale varieties tested here (Table 1).


Forage Dry Matter (DM) Yield

The forage DM was statistically similar among triticale varieties tested (Table 1). Tyndal produced the highest DM yield (8448 lbs/acre) fol-lowed by Sunray (8302 lbs/acre), Bunker (7859 lbs/acre), 94L043057 (7717 lbs/acre) and then Taza (6911 lbs/acre).


Yield advantage as % of check varied from 112% for 94L043057 to 122% for Tyndal.

The reduced awn expression in Bunker will diversify the use of this spring triticale as a con-served forage (for silage and greenfeed/hay).


Forage Quality

Crude protein (CP) - The forage CP was similar for all triticale varieties. The CP was generally above 10% for all varieties. At the late milk stage of harvest for greenfeed or silage, all varieties tested here have been able to meet the protein requirements of a mature beef cow at different physiological states.

Minerals

For a dry gestating cow, all spring triticale varieties tested here had sufficient mineral values (except for Na and Cu) (see Table 2).


Energy

The forage total digestible nutrients (TDN) varied from 63% for Bunker to 70% for 94L043057 (Table 3), indicating that energy (TDN) was generally >60% TDN. This shows that the suggested 60%TDN value for a dry gestating cow has been met by these varieties. Tyndal, Sunray and 94L043057 exceeded the 65% TDN recommended for a lactating cow.


For all other forms of energy, 94L043057 consistently had higher values compared to other varieties tested. A mature beef cow requires 0.97-1.10 MCal Kg-1 NEM (net energy for maintenance) during pregnancy and 1.19-1.28 MCal Kg-1 NEM during lactation. Looking at Table 3, all spring triticale varieties tested here have been able to meet the net energy for maintenance requirements by these categories of cows. NEM is an estimate of the energy value of a feed used to keep an animal in energy equilibrium, neither gaining nor losing weight.


Detergent Fibers and Non-fiber Carbohydrates (Table 3)

In terms of the detergent fibers (ADF & NDF) and NFC, 94L043057 is of better forage quality than other spring triticale varieties tested here. Forages with lower ADF values are usually preferred, because it means higher net energy. NDF gives bulk or fill to the diet and is negatively correlated with feed intake. Low NDF is usually desired. NFC is the highly digestible carbohydrate fraction of feeds consisting of starch, sugar, and pectin. Generally, NFC is more rapidly digested than fiber. It is a significant source of energy for the rumen microbes. The microbes also use NFC to make microbial protein. Therefore, in terms of NFC values obtained for spring triticale tested here, 94L043057 appeared to fare better than other varieties in providing significant source of energy for the rumen microbes.


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