Yield and Quality of Annual Crop Mixtures and Alternatives Annual crops for forage production in Alberta
Canadian Agriculture Partnership Program
Khalil Ahmed PhD., P. Ag.
Silages are a vital feed component for cattle producers in Alberta and all around the globe. As an essential feed source, the farmer needs to understand which silage is good to grow according to their region's ecosystem. The annual silage trial is established to determine the adaptability of new silage crop and alternative silage crops in central Alberta. 2020 was the first year of the project establishment.
To provide current knowledge about alternative silage production in Alberta.
The experimental studies were conducted in RCBD (randomized complete block design), assigned with four replications. Glyphosate was used as pre-seed burn-off on research plots. All three trials were seeded on pea stubble. The cereal pulse mix and winter-spring/cereal mix were seeded on May 25, 2020, and the alternative silage trial was seeded last on June 22, 2020. Standard fertilizer rate was applied, i.e., N:P:K:S=54:10:15:10 according to the research site's soil test report.
Several data were collected on each trial, including total precipitation and average daily temperature recorded through the onsite weather monitoring system. Visual assessment was also done on plant lodging. The silage was harvested according to its growth stages in August. A forage harvester was used to harvest cereal-pea mixtures and wheat-spring cereals. Each sample was used to determine percent moisture and quality; dry and wet weight was also recorded.
TDN (total digestible nutrients), Ca (calcium), P (phosphorus), K (potassium) and Mg (magnesium). The actual yield is expressed in kg/ha, and feed nutritional values are calculated in percent (%).
In alternative forage, rye and millet showed highest dry matter yield as compared to other crops. The nutrient analyses were not significantly different as shown in Table 1. This year, no significant differences were found in dry matter yield of spring cereal mixture and cereal-pulse mixture; however, an improvement in crude protein % were estimated in cereal-pulse mixture. For Details check out our annual report 2020-21.