An important component of the annual feed supply for Alberta’s cattle producers comes in the form of silage, green feed and swath grazing of annual cereal crops. It could be argued that there is more grain forage than cereal grain fed to take many market animals from conception to plate. Selection of annual crop varieties which produce the highest forage yield and/or nutritional quality becomes increasingly important. Silage is an integral forage source in feedlots across the province and has become more prevalent in cow herds as well. With many producers trying to lower production costs, swath grazing of cow herds has increased dramatically in the last few years. West-Central Forage Association, along with other eight other research organizations, across Alberta have been working uninterruptedly on this Regional Silage Variety Trial since 2009, providing unbiased information to producers to help them with the decision making process on the farm.
To generate and provide scientifically sound crop variety performance information to producers, industry and extension specialists as a basis for comparison of varieties of cereal.
• Battle River Research Group, Forestburg, AB
• Chinook Applied Research Association, Oyen, AB
• Gateway Research Organization, Westlock, AB
• Lakeland Agricultural Research Association, Bonnyville, AB
• Mackenzie Applied Research Association, Fort Vermilion, AB
• North Peace Applied Research Association, Manning AB
• Peace Country Beef and Forage, Fairview, AB
• Smoky Applied Research and Demonstration Association, Falher, AB
• West-Central Forage Association, Evansburg, AB
• Government of Alberta (Agriculture and Forestry): Doug McCaulay, AOF Coordinator
• A & L Canada Laboratories Inc.
• Davidson Seeds, Degenhardt Farms, Dyck Seed Farm, Fabian Seeds, Lindholm Seed Farm, Mastin Seeds, Solick Seeds, H. Warkentin,
Applied research and forage associations performed regional silage trials at eight locations throughout the province.The trials are intended to determine yield and nutritional values of various cereal crops and cereal/pea combinations.
Varieties of barley, oats, triticale and peas commonly used for silage, green feed and swath grazing were included in the trial. The cereal trials, (barley, oats and triticale), were seeded at recommended seeding density rates with fertility as determined from soil samples. The pulse mixture trial looked at increasing the nutritional value of silage, with a potential side benefit of decreasing future nitrogen costs. The pulse mix plots were seeded with 50 pounds of 11-52-0-0, while the monoculture cereal comparison plots were fertilized with 50 percent of the recommended fertilizer rates. Peas were seeded at 75 percent of their recommended seeding rate and cereals at 50 percent when in mixtures.
In 2018 WCFA had the Regional Silage Variety Trial at our Wildwood Forage Research Site.
Nutrition was assessed using NIRS for macro-nutrient assessments and wet chemistry for the micro-nutrients. Full nutritional analysis was done on each sample, however, only six nutritional categories are reported: crude protein (CP), total digestible nutrients (TDN) which is an estimation of energy, calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), potassium (K) and magnesium (Mg).
To view PDF versions of results please click the year below.