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Regional Silage Variety Trials: Triticale Varieties for Livestock Production

Project Site: Fairview Research Farm

Research Program Manager: Dr. Akim Omokanye From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2018 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. 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 triticale 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).

Objective

The objective of the present study was to determine forage yield and quality of different triticale cultivars for beef cattle production.

Methods

The study site was at the Fairview Research Farm (NW5-82-3W6) on RR #35, MD of Fairview. The site had been in alfalfa hay for more than 15 years. The site was sprayed with Roundup and plowed the fall before. This was later disced and harrowed in the spring before seeding. Soil tests at 0-6” showed an organic matter of 7.6%, a pH of 6.9, and an electrical conductivity of 0.2 dS/m.

Five (5) spring triticale varieties were arranged in randomized complete block design with 4 replications in small plots. The 5 varieties tested are: Bunker, Tyndal, Sunray, Taza, T256. Seeding was done on May 25 with a 6-row plot drill at 9” row spacing.

Fertility according to soil test recommendations for balanced crop nutrition for average barley production was 147 lb N + 43 lb P + 46 lb K + 16 lb S and applied at seeding.

Roundup was used for burn off. In-crop spraying was done on June 19 with 0.17 L/acre Prestige XC A+ 0.80 L/acre Prestige XC B. Hand weeding was done once on July 4th.

Harvesting for forage dry matter (DM) yield determination and quality analysis was done on August 15 at the milk stage from an area of 1.67 m2. Two composite forage samples were sent to A & L Laboratory in Ontario for quality determination.

Results

Plant Growth - Bunker grew tallest with up to 125 cm in plant height (Table 1).

Forage Dry Matter (DM) Yield - The forage DM yield varied from 7298 lbs DM/acre for Tyndal to 8134 lbs DM/acre for Bunker (Table 1).

Crude Protein (CP) - The forage CP was generally >10% CP. Tyndal seemed to have the highest forage CP (12.1% CP). For a mature beef cow that requires 7-9-11% CP at mid pregnancy, late pregnancy, and during lactation respectively, the forage CP obtained for the different triticale varieties was adequate for the different categories of a mature beef cow.



Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN) - All triticale varieties tested here had 65-68% TDN, which is considered to be adequate for the different categories of mature beef cows (55% TDN at mid pregnancy, 60% at late pregnancy and 65% at nursing).

Forage Minerals - The different triticale varieties examined here were only able to provide sufficient Ca and P for a dry gestating beef cow. None of the varieties had adequate Ca and P for a lactating beef cow.

All triticale varieties had enough K, Mg, S, Fe, Zn, and Mn for a mature beef cow. The requirements of Na and Cu were not met by all triticale varieties tested here.

Because of the inability of any triticale variety to completely meet the mineral requirements analyzed for in this study, mineral supplementation would be needed when feeding any of these varieties to beef cattle.



Conclusion

With the high amount of forage DM yield produced, as well as the forage CP and TDN, which both appeared to be adequate for all mature beef cattle, all triticale varieties tested here therefore have good forage potential for livestock production in the area.

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