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Testing of New Sainfoin Lines for Bloat-free Alfalfa Pasture Mixtures

Trial Site: Fairview Research Farm

Collaborator: Dr. Surya Acharya - Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge

Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye

From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2016 Annual Report

Sainfoin is a perennial forage legume that does not cause bloat because of its condensed tannin concentration. The condensed tannin is very effective at preventing deadly pasture bloat in ruminants. Studies have shown that 15% or more sainfoin in alfalfa mixture can significantly lower, and in certain cases eliminates, the risk of pasture bloat. However, until recently, available sainfoin varieties have not survived well in mixed stands with alfalfa or have not regrown at the same rate after the first cut or grazing and so cannot be used with alfalfa for reducing pasture bloat. Recent studies have shown that new experimental sainfoin lines are more competitive and have improved regrowth rates compared to older sainfoin varieties. Sainfoin is said to be as nutritious and palatable as alfalfa, and more cold and drought tolerant.

In collaboration with Dr. Surya Acharya (AAFC, Lethbridge), PCBFA tested some experimental sainfoin lines (LRC 3900, LRC 3901 & LRC 3902) in mixtures with AC Grazeland alfalfa variety to evaluate their growth, persistency and forage yield. The experimental sainfoin lines were developed by Dr. Surya Acharya. The tests were to help us determine if these experimental sainfoin lines developed for their ability to survive with alfalfa could outperform an older sainfoin variety called Nova. One of the experimental sainfoin lines (LRC-3902) was recently re-leased as AC Mountainview by Dr. Surya Acharya.


Three experimental sainfoin lines (LRC05-3900, LRC05-3901, LRC05-3902) along with an older sainfoin variety called Nova (check) were each seeded in mixtures with AC Grazeland alfalfa on May 23, 2013 at the Fairview Research Farm (NW5-82-3W6) on RR #35. Both sainfoin and alfalfa were seeded in the same row (same row mixtures). AC Grazeland alfalfa is a low-bloat potential alfalfa, because this variety resul