Forage producers in Alberta have had limited access to information on new perennial crops in recent years. This trial is intended to demonstrate the establishment in the first year and forage quality and yield in subsequent years. Visual records have been collected and results will be available to producers to help them make management decisions. Total entries in the trial include approximately 18 grasses and 18 legumes.
This trial will fill the gap in the perennial forage production knowledge that currently exists in Alberta and will also serve as a valuable extension tool. Information related to improved yield and quality of perennial forage crops will reduce the risk producers face related to producing forage for their cattle operation. This project will deliver unbiased data from sites across the province, allowing producers to use results representative of their particular region.
To provide unbiased, current and comprehensive regional data regarding the establishment, winter survival, yield and economics of specific species and varieties of perennial forage crops. To identify perennial crop species/varieties that demonstrate superior establishment, hardiness, forage yield and nutritional quality characteristics in different eco-regions of Alberta. To assess any benefits from growing mixtures of selected species.
The trial was replicated at 8 sites throughout the province:
The Perennial Forage Trial is located at WCFA's Wildwood Forage Research Site (SE 27-53-09-W5). Seeding occurred on June 7, 2016 to a prepared seed bed using a small plot Fabro disc seeder.
This trial consists of grasses, legumes and grass/legume mixes. Forages seeded in the trial were:
Grasses: Fleet Meadow Brome; AC Admiral Hybrid Brome; Success Hybrid Brome; Knowles Hybrid Brome; Greenleaf Pubescent Wheatgrass; Kirk Crested Wheatgrass; AC Saltlander Green Wheatgrass; Tom Russian Wildrye; Killarney Orchardgrass; Grinstad Timothy; Fojtan Festulolium; Courtney Tall Fescue.
Legumes: Assalt ST Alfalfa; Dalton Alfalfa; 20-10 Alfalfa; Halo Alfalfa; Rugged Alfalfa; Spredor 4 Alfalfa; Spredor 5 Alfalfa; Yellowhead Alfalfa; PV Ultima Alfalfa; 44-44 Alfalfa; Mountainview Sainfoin; Nova Sainfoin; Veldt Cicer Milkvetch; Oxley 2 Cicer Milkvetch.
**Note: Legumes failed to establish at the Wildwood site
Grass/Legume Mixes: Fleet/Admiral (Mix 1); Success/Yellowhead (Mix 2); Admiral/Yellowhead (Mix 3); Fleet/Spredor 5 (Mix 4); Success/Spredor 5 (Mix 5); Admiral/Spredor 5 (Mix 6); Fleet/Mountainview (Mix 7); Success/Mountainview (Mix 8); Admiral/Mountainview (Mix 9).
No emergence counts were taken by WCFA in 2016 due to the amount of weed pressure. As 2016 was the establishment year no yield or quality data was collected. Plant counts, height measurements, yield and quality data were all collected in 2017.
Stand establishment was good for the perennial grasses and grass/legume mixes despite pest and weed pressure and lack of moisture early in the summer.
When the trial has completed a full report will be made available.