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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 96 No. 6, p. 1545-1552
    Received: July 24, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): baronv@agr.gc.ca
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Stockpiling Potential of Perennial Forage Species Adapted to the Canadian Western Prairie Parkland

  1. Vern S. Baron *a,
  2. A. Campbell Dicka,
  3. Myron Bjorgeb and
  4. Grant Lastiwkab
  1. a Agric. and Agri-Food Canada, Alberta, T4L 2P5 Canada
    b Alberta Agric., Food and Rural Dev., Western Forage/Beef Group, 6000 C & E Trail, Lacombe, Alberta, T4L 2P5 Canada


Stockpiling perennial forages for fall and winter grazing is not generally practiced on the Prairie Parkland of Canada. The objective was to determine forage species with most potential for stockpiling in this short-season region. The research was conducted for 3 yr at Lacombe, AB. Plots of adapted forage grasses and alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) were clipped in early July. Regrowth forage mass was determined in mid-September, mid-October, and the following April. Forage quality measurements included in vitro digestible organic matter (IVDOM), crude protein, water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC), and acid (ADF) and neutral (NDF) detergent fiber. Overwinter yield losses were lower with grasses (3–35%) than alfalfa (43%). Meadow bromegrass (Bromus riparius Rhem.) had stable stockpiled yields over both dry (5130 kg ha−1) and wet (5450 kg ha−1) years and retained nutritive value well into winter and spring. Timothy (Phleum pratense L.) provided greatest stockpiled yields in years of above-average rainfall (9700 kg ha−1), but protein levels (<70 g kg−1) may be lower than desired in some years. Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) and creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra L.) had relatively low stockpiled yields (3160–5020 kg ha−1). However, quackgrass [Elytrigia repens (L.) Nevski] yielded well under good rainfall conditions (6180 kg ha−1), and dry matter loss (16%) was below average. Spring NDF (644 g kg−1) and IVDOM (495 g kg−1) concentrations of creeping red fescue were lowest and highest among species, respectively. Creeping red fescue and meadow bromegrass have the best chance of meeting cow nutritive requirements during winter and spring.

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