Testing of some Wheat & Triticale varieties for Greenfeed & Silage - Regional Silage Variety Trial

Location: Fairview Research Farm, NW-5-82-3-W6 on RR #35, MD of Fairview

Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye

From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2015 Annual Report


The RSVTs help to provide information with regard to the quantity and quality of annual crops cut for green-feed and silage to local producers. Wheat is suited to all soil zones of the province. Some wheat varieties can produce as much dry matter as oats or barley. Wheat quality for silage or greenfeed is generally lower than barley. Triticale is more tolerant of dry conditions than oats. Triticale is later maturing than oats or barley. For greenfeed or silage, wheat should be cut in the soft-dough stage, while triticale should be cut at the milk stage.


Methods

The trial was setup at the Research Farm (NW5-82-3W6) on RR #35, Fairview. Prior to seeding, soil tests at 0-6” soil depth done at Exova laboratory (Edmonton) showed an soil organic matter of 3.0 % and a pH of 6.9. The site was sprayed with Roundup the fall before and worked in the spring before seeding .


We seeded five (5) spring wheat and three (3) spring triticale varieties, which were arranged in a randomized complete block design in 4 replications in small plots. Seeding was done on May 25 with a 6-row plot drill at 9 inch row spacing. Fertility according to soil test recommendations for balanced crop nutrition was 200 N lb + 96 lb P + 62 lb K + 75 lb S and applied at seeding. Roundup was used for burn off. In-crop spraying was done with 0.44 L/ha Prestige A + 1.98 L/ha Prestige B.


Some information on the varieties seeded:

  1. AAC Chiffon - soft white spring wheat

  2. AAC Innova - registered in 2013, spring wheat in the general purpose class

  3. AAC Ryley - registered in 2013, spring wheat in the general purpose class

  4. Pasteur - spring wheat in the general purpose class

  5. Sadash - soft white spring wheat type

  6. Sunray - spring triticale, regular awned-grain variety. Sunray is the first triticale variety with ergot resistance. Ergot can be a problem when triticale is used as a feed grain because it is toxic to animals and reduces overall grain quality

  7. Taza - spring triticale, an awnletted (reduced awn expression), for use as a feed grain, conserved forage & swath grazing crop

  8. Tyndal - awnletted (reduced awn expression), for use as a feed grain and conserved forage


Forage harvest was done on August 10. Four rows per plot were harvested by hand and weighed for fresh weight. Sub-samples (about 500 grams per plot) were dried and later reweighed for dry matter (DM) content and DM yield estimation. Forage samples were analyzed for quality using standard procedures for wet chemistry by Central Testing Laboratory Ltd., Winnipeg. Fairview was generally dry in 2015, and grasshopper infestation was very high.


Results

Forage Yield

The forage dry matter (DM) was not statistically different among wheat and triticale varieties tested, but AAC Chiffon wheat and Tyndal triticale appeared to have higher DM values than other wheat and triticale varieties (Figure 1).

Forage Quality

The forage protein was generally above 10%, with AAC Innova wheat variety recording the highest value (12.0% CP) (Table 1). This indicates that most wheat and triticale varieties tested here were within the recommended protein requirements for a dry gestating cow, while only a few varieties appeared to slightly fall short of the 11% needed by a lactating cow.


The forage Ca content varied from 0.12% Ca for AAC Ryley wheat to 0.19% Ca for AAC Innova wheat (Table 1). In this study, only 3 wheat varieties and one triticale variety had adequate Ca content that is required by a dry gestating cow (0.18% Ca). All wheat and triticale varieties tested did not meet the Ca requirement of a lactating cow (0.42% Ca).


All triticale varieties appeared to have higher forage P content than wheat varieties (Table 1). A cow in the second and third trimester (dry gestating cow) requires 0.16% P and 0.12% Mg, while during lactation, the cow requires 0.26% P and 0.20% Mg. In this study, all wheat and triticale varieties had an adequate amount of P and Mg for a dry gestating cow, but none of the varieties had enough P and Mg for a lactating cow. The forage K was highest for AAC Innova wheat (1.40% K) and lowest for AAC Ryley wheat (0.98% K) (Table 1). All wheat and triticale varieties tested far exceeded the K requirements by a mature beef cow. All varieties tested here were short of meeting the Na requirements of both dry gestating and lactating cows.


The forage energy content (%TDN) appeared to be higher for triticale varieties (69.3-70.9% TDN) than wheat varieties (63.8-69.1% TDN). Except for Pasteur wheat (63.8% TDN), all varieties tested exceeded the energy requirements of mature beef cattle.

Tyndal and Taza triticale varieties consistently had higher values for other energy units of measured (ME, NEG, NEL, NEM and DE) than wheat and triticale barley varieties. The energy available for metabolism by animals is referred to as metabolizable energy (ME). All varieties tested were well within the suggested daily ME requirements of 2.23 to 2.54 mcal/kg for mature beef cattle. Also, all varieties slightly exceeded the requirements of 0.97-1.10 Mcal/kg of NEM (dry gestation stage) and 1.19-1.28 Mcal/kg NEM (during lactation) of a mature beef cow. For growing and finishing calves, which require 0.53-1.37 Mcal/kg of NEG, all varieties were well within this range.


Conclusion - Though the varieties tested here did not differ statistically in dry matter yields, but both AAC Chiffon wheat and Tyndal triticale appeared to have move forage dry matter than other varieties. Both AAC Chiffon wheat and Tyndal triticale were also able to meet the protein, macro minerals (except for Na) and energy (TDN) requirements of a dry gestating cow.

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