Silage Varieties for Alberta

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 Participating organizations | Major sponsors | Trial information | Test yield categories | Nutritional analysis | Variety tables
An important component of the annual feed supply for Alberta’s cattle producers comes in the form of silage, green feed and swath grazing. It could be argued that there is more grain forage than cereal grain fed to take many market animals from conception to plate.

Selection of annual crop varieties that produce the highest forage yield and/or nutritional quality becomes increasingly important.

Participating organizations
  • Battle River Research Group, Forestburg, AB, (780) 582-7308
  • Chinook Applied Research Association, Oyen, AB, (403) 664-3777
  • Gateway Research Organization, Westlock, AB, (780) 349-4546
  • Lakeland Agricultural Research Association, Bonnyville, AB, (780) 826-7260
  • Mackenzie Applied Research Association, Fort Vermilion, AB (780) 927-3776
  • Peace Country Beef and Forage, Fairview, AB, (780) 836-3354
Major sponsors
  • Doug Macaulay, Agriculture Opportunity Fund Co-ordinator
  • A & L Canada Laboratories Inc.
  • Davidson Seeds, Degenhardt Farms, Dyck Seed Farm, Kevin Elmy, Fabian Seeds, Lindholm Seed Farm, Mastin Seeds, Solick Seeds, H. Warkington
Trial information

Silage yield and nutritional information was collected by 7 applied research associations in 2017 at sites from Oyen in the south to Fort Vermilion in the north. Data from additional sites grown during the past six years has been included in the variety summaries below.

Varieties of barley, oats, triticale and peas commonly used for silage, green feed and swath grazing were included in the trial. The cereal trials (barley, oats and triticale) were seeded at recommended seeding density rates with recommended fertility.

The pulse mixture trial looked at increasing the nutritional value of silage, with a potential side benefit of decreasing future nitrogen costs. The pulse mix plots were seeded with 50 pounds of 11-52-0-0. Peas were seeded at 75 per cent of their recommended seeding rate and cereals at 50 percent when in mixtures.

Growing conditions at the trial sites in 2017 ranged from below average to excessive moisture.

The tables below show a summary of data from 2012 through 2017 as compared to the control variety (in bold). Yield of the test varieties are expressed as wet tons/acre (i.e. 65% moisture, typical of silage production). Data sets that did not meet minimum quality standards and variance levels were excluded.

Test yield categories

The defined range for each Test Yield Category is provided in tons per acre. Variety yields are reported as average yields in Low, Medium and High Test Yield Categories. This presentation 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. As yield is not the only factor that affects net return, other important agronomic and disease resistance characteristics should also be considered. The genetic yield potential of a variety can be influenced by various management and environmental factors.

Nutritional analysis

Nutrition was assessed using NIRS for macro-nutrient assessments and wet chemistry for the micro-nutrients. Full nutritional analysis was done on each sample; however, only six nutritional categories are reported:
  • crude protein (CP)
  • total digestible nutrients (TDN), an estimate of energy
  • calcium (Ca)
  • phosphorus (P)
  • potassium (K)
  • magnesium (Mg)
Variety tables

Pulse Mixtures

More information

For additional information, including varieties not listed in this publication, please call the Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Ag-Info Centre toll-free at 310-FARM (3276). For other cropping information, refer to the website at

Source: Agdex 120/32-1. January 2018.
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Ag Info Centre.
This information published to the web on January 22, 2014.
Last Reviewed/Revised on February 16, 2018.