Performance of new forage varieties for grazing
Saskatchewan beef producers require forage varieties that are high yielding, of good nutritional quality and persist in western Canada. New forage varieties require evaluation under grazed conditions to determine suitability for grazing purposes. A grazing trial near Lanigan, Saskatchewan evaluated crested wheatgrass (CWG) (Agropyron cristatum (L.) Gaertn.) cv. ‘Goliath’, meadow bromegrass (MBG) (Bromus riparius Rehm.) cv. ‘Paddock’, smooth bromegrass (SBG) (B. inermis Leyss) cv. ‘Carlton’, hybrid bromegrass (HBG) (B. riparius Rehm. X B. inermis Leyss) cv. ‘AC Knowles’ and tall fescue (TF) (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) cv. ‘Courtney’ compared to an old established stand of CWG (A. cristatum) for cumulative dry matter yield (CDMY), average daily gain (ADG) of yearling steers, animal grazing days (AGD) and total beef production per hectare (TBP). There was no significant species x year interaction for ADG, AGD and TBP and data was analyzed using the mean of 2004 and 2005. In 2005, CWG cv. ‘Goliath’ yielded significantly higher (p<0.05) than all other varieties. The long established CWG showed higher ADG than HBG established in 2003 (p<0.05) but was not significantly different than the other varieties. The long established stand of CWG had the lowest AGD, while TF, MBG and HBG had the greatest animal grazing days (p<0.05). Tall fescue, MBG, HBG, SBG and CWG cv. ‘Goliath’ yielded higher TBP than the long established stand of crested wheatgrass (p<0.05). New forage varieties have the potential to perform better than long established stands of crested wheatgrass.
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