Short Grass Ranches in the Medicine Hat area found he could graze cattle from late October to early spring on his winter wheat and still have the winter wheat produce a crop the following season.
This study determined the possibility of obtaining supplemental grazed forage from cereal crops including fall rye, winter triticale, winter wheat and their blends. The experimental trials compared grazing in fall with control plots that were not grazed.
The effect of grazing on silage biomass, quality, and grain yield was determined at the end of the season.
Full breakdown of project objectives
Trial 1: Winter Cereal Grazing (crop type, cultivar, and seed treatment)
|Evaluate the effect on biomass (silage) and yield production with fall grazing of cattle on winter wheat, fall rye, winter triticale and blends of each|
|Evaluate the differences in crop type and varietal suitability to this practice|
|Quantify potential differences in winter survival with the application of a seed treatment|
|Complete an economic analysis of silage value following grazing and non-grazed treatments and the potential to carry the crop through to yield|
Trial 2: Winter Wheat Seeding Date
|Determine the effect of different seeding dates on winter wheat varieties Moats & Ptarmigan|
|Determine the potential differences between Ptarmigan & Moats|
|Quantify potential differences in winter survival with the application of a seed treatment and without|
Full breakdown of project methods
Trial 1 - winter cereal grazing (crop type, cultivar, and seed treatment)
The study showed that cultivar selection had significant effect on fall and spring plant density. Also, grazing significantly lowered spring survival compared to non-grazed plots (p <0.001). The same results are seen for winter survival except for the year 2017.
However, winter cereals demonstrated that they could withstand the removal of the above ground biomass and continue to grow after grazing. Between grazed cereals, fall rye (Hazlet 78%, Prima 88&) and winter triticale (Luoma 88%, Fridge 89%) have higher survival rates compared to winter wheat (Moats 69%, Ptatmigan 75%). In general, the study demonstrated that grazing significantly impacted survival in different crops and cultivars, but not by treatment of CMVC and check.
Contrary to survival, fall biomass did not show significant differences among the cultivars. Statistically, Fridge winter tritcale (11.45 T/ha) had the highest total biomass and Prima fall rye (9.02 T/ha) had the lowest. Fall biomass had significantly richer nutrients for feed value over silage. Also, grazing increased yield in all years. The highest averaged yield belongs to grazed Luoma triticale (91 bu/ha) and the lowest is an ungrazed blend of Ptarmigan winter wheat with Prima fall rye (66 bu/ha).
Trial 2 - Winter Wheat Seeding Date
Early seeding from early to mid-August increases the fall biomass but decreases winter survival and yield. The optimal seeding period for Moats and Ptarmigan winter wheat is the first two weeks of September. Silage biomass (around 8 T/ha) of winter wheat in different seeding dates showed higher values vs fall biomass (around 2 T/ha). The grazed plots showed an increased yield in both wheat cultivars. Moats had an 11 bu/ac higher yield on average than Ptarmigan in the ungrazed plots.
- We observed a good potential to fall graze winter cereals with a high feed quality
- Grazing proved to increase yield, but compromised winter and spring survival and must be managed accordingly
- Prima fall rye and Luoma winter triticale showed the highest surivial
- Hazlet fall rye and a blend of Fridge triticale and Ptarmigan winter wheat had the highest fall biomass
- Fridge winter triticale had the highest total biomass and Prima rye the lowest
- Winter surival is significantly impacted by crops, cultivars and grazing, but not by seed treatment of CMVC
- The highest average yield was grazed Luoma triticale and the lowest is the ungrazed blend of Ptarmigan winter wheat and Prima fall rye
- Optimal seeding period for Moats and Ptarmigan is the first 2 weeks of September
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