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The Performance of Some Broadleaf Cover Crops in High Prairie

Research Coordinator: Dr. Akim Omokanye

Location: Bill Fevang's Farm - High Prairie

From: Peace Country Beef & Forage Association 2018 Annual Report

Typically, annual cover crops (including broadleaf types) are sown as monocultures within annual crop rotations to protect soil from erosion or give other agroecosystem services, such as building soil fertility and organic matter, retaining nutrients, or suppressing weeds during periods when cash crops are not actively growing. This report looks at the forage production potential of 4 broadleaf crops for beef cattle production.


The study site was at Bill Fevang’s farm in High Prairie. The site had canola the year before and it was sprayed with a pre-seed burnoff before seeding the broadleaf crops in 2018. Soil tests from 0-6” showed an organic matter of 10.3%, a pH of 5.9, and an electrical conductivity of 1.0 dS/m. The soil had 27 lbs N/acre, 23 lbs P/ac, 496 lbs K/ac and 19 lbs S/ac. The following 4 broadleaf crops were tested:

1. Plantain seeded at 3.5 lbs/acre

2. Chicory at 5 lbs/acre

3. Phacelia at 5 lbs/acre

4. Buckwheat at 48 lbs/acre

These were replicated 4 times in a randomized complete block design.

· Seeding date: June 7

· No fertilizer was applied to any of the broadleaf crops

· No in-crop spraying was done. Instead the plots were hand weeded twice.

· The broadleaf crops were harvested on August 20 for forage dry matter (DM) yield determination and quality analysis. Two composite forage samples were sent to A & L laboratory in Ontario for quality determination.