Silage Varieties for Alberta

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 Participating organisations | 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

Eight applied research groups performed the project at twelve locations throughout the province.

    • 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
    • North Peace Applied Research Association
      Manning AB, 780-836-3354
    • Peace Country Beef and Forage
      Fairview, AB, 780-835-6799
    • Smoky Applied Research and Demonstration Association
      Falher, AB, 780-837-2900
    • West-Central Forage Association
      Evansburg, AB, 780-727-4447
Major sponsors
  • Government of Alberta, Agriculture and Forestry
    – Doug Mcaulay, Agriculture Opportunity Fund Co-ordinator
  • Davidson Seeds
  • Degenhardt Farms
  • Dyck Seed Farm
  • Kevin Elmy
  • Fabian Seeds
  • Lindholm Seed Farm
  • Mastin Seeds
  • Solick Seeds
  • H. Warkington
Trial information

Applied research and forage associations performed regional silage trials at 8 locations throughout the province in 2016. Data from additional sites grown during the past five years has been included in the variety summaries below. The trials are intended to determine yield and nutritional values of various cereal crops and cereal/pea combinations.

The tables below show a summary of data from 2012 through 2016 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.

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, while the monoculture cereal comparison plots were fertilized with 50 percent of the recommended fertilizer rates. Peas were seeded at 75 percent of their recommended seeding rate and cereals at 50 percent when in mixtures.

Growing conditions at the trial sites in 2016 ranged from dryer than normal to excessive moisture.

Maturity, plant height and lodging were not measured in the trials as these factors are reported in the Cereal Regional Variety Testing (RVT) program tables in the Varieties of Cereal and Oilseed Crops for Alberta factsheet, Agdex 100-32.

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 or target yields are anticipated to be of low, medium or high productivity.

Varieties that are statistically higher (+) or lower (–) yielding than the standard check are indicated. No symbol after the yield figure indicates that there is no statistical difference. 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 are often 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 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)
More information

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

Variety Tables

Factsheet and data preparation coordinated by
Alex Fedko
Co-ordinator RVT/Crop Research Technologist
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

Source: Agdex 120/32-1. January 2017.
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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 7, 2017.