Silage

2019 Regional Silage Variety Trials

An important component of the annual feed supply for Alberta’s cattle producers comes in the form of silage, green feed and swath grazing. The selection of annual crop varieties that produce high forage yield and/or nutritional quality can be a significant factor influencing profitability. 

Participating Organizations 

• Battle River Research Group, Forestburg, Alta. (780) 582-7308

• Chinook Applied Research Association, Oyen, Alta. (403) 664-3777

• Farming Smarter, Lethbridge, Alta. (403) 317-0022

• Gateway Research Organization, Westlock, Alta. (780) 349-4546

• Lakeland Agricultural Research Association, Bonnyville, Alta. (780) 826-7260

• Mackenzie Applied Research Association, Fort Vermilion, Alta. (780) 927-3776 

• North Peace Applied Research Association, Manning, Alta. (780) 836-3354

• Peace Country Beef and Forage, Fairview, Alta. (780) 835-6799

• Smoky Applied Research and Demonstration Association, Falher, Alta. (780) 837-2900

• West Central Forage Association, Entwistle, Alta. (780) 727-4447

Major Sponsors

• Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, AOF Program and CDC North

• A & L Canada Laboratories Inc.

• Alliance Seeds, CANTERRA, Davidson Seeds, Degenhardt Farms, Dyck Seed Farm, Elmy’s Friendly Acres Seed Farm, Fabian Seeds, Lindholm Seed Farm, Mastin Seeds, Proven Seeds, SeCan, Solick Seeds, Luc Tellier, H. Warkentin 

Trial Information

Yield and feed quality evaluations on varieties of barley, oat and triticale commonly used for silage, green feed and swath grazing have been conducted by several applied research associations at sites across Alberta. 

Several pea/cereal mixes have been included in the trials. Growing season conditions in 2019 ranged from below average to excessive moisture at the trial sites reporting data.

The cereal trials, (barley, oats and triticale), were planted at recommended seeding density rates with recommended fertility. The pea/cereal mixture trials were conducted with the intent of increasing the nutritional value of the silage while potentially reducing future nitrogen requirements. These pea/cereal plots were seeded with 55 kg/ha (50 lbs/ac) of 11-52-0-0. The pea and cereal varieties were seeded at 75 and 50 percent of their recommended seeding rates, respectively. These mixes were harvested when the cereal was at the soft dough stage.

Data submitted in 2019 was summarized by crop or crop mixture. Information collected since 2012 has been included in a separate summary below each table. The information is presented as compared to the check variety (in bold). Yield of the test varieties/mixtures are expressed as wet tons/acre (ie. 65 per cent moisture which is typical of silage production). Data sets which did not meet minimum quality and experimental standards were excluded. 

Test Yield Categories

Low, Medium and High Test Yield Categories (tons per acre) have been defined for each variety and mix. This allows for comparison with the check when growing conditions, management regimes and/or target yields are anticipated to be of low, medium or high productivity. Caution is advised when interpreting the data with respect to new varieties that have not been fully tested. It should also be noted that the indicated yield levels are those from small plot trials, which can be 15 to 20 per cent higher than yields expected under commercial production. When considering a variety for use alone or in a mixed silage blend, be sure to consider the disease resistance and other agronomic attributes that may also affect productivity. 

Nutritional Analysis

Nutrition information was assessed using NIRS for macro-nutrient assessments and wet chemistry for the micro-nutrients.