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.

The selection of annual crop varieties that produce high forage yield and/or nutritional quality can be a significant factor influencing profitability.

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
  • Smoky Applied Research and Demonstration Association, Falher, AB, (780) 837-2900
  • West Central Forage Association, Entwistle, AB, (780) 727-4447
Major sponsors
  • Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Agriculture Opportunity Fund Program and Crop Development Centre North
  • 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 trials on varieties of barley, oat and triticale commonly used for silage, green feed and swath grazing, as well as pea/cereal and fall/spring cereal mixtures, have been conducted by several applied research associations at sites across Alberta, from Oyen to Fort Vermilion. Nutritional analyses were conducted on all the varieties and variety mixtures.

Varieties of pea/cereal mixes and spring/fall cereal mixes have also been evaluated. Growing conditions at the trial sites in 2018 ranged from below average to excessive moisture.

The cereal trials (barley, oat and triticale) were planted at recommended seeding density rates with recommended fertility. The pea/cereal mixture trials were conducted with the intent of increasing the nutritional value of the silage while potentially reducing future nitrogen requirements.

These pea/cereal plots were seeded with 55 kg/ha (50 lbs./ac) of 11-52-0-0. The pea and cereal varieties were seeded at 75 and 50 per cent of their recommended seeding rates, respectively.

The spring/fall cereal mixtures were included in 2018 to evaluate options for fall grazing, as the winter cereal maintains vegetative growth after silage harvest, resulting in forage with high protein content later in the year. Target seeding rate of the spring component of the mix was 75 per cent of the recommended rate while the winter cereal was seeded at 50 per cent. These mixes were harvested at the soft dough stage of the spring cereal.

Data submitted in 2018 have been summarized by crop or crop mixture. Information collected since 2012 has been included in a separate summary below each table. The information is presented as compared to the check variety (in bold). Yield of the test varieties/mixtures are expressed as wet tons/acre (i.e. 65 % moisture, which is typical of silage production). Data sets that did not meet minimum quality and experimental standards were excluded.

Test yield categories

The defined range for each Test Yield Category is provided in tons per acre. Variety/mixture 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. When considering a variety for use alone or in a mixed silage blend, be sure to consider the disease resistance and other agronomic attributes that may also affect productivity.

Nutritional analysis

Nutrition information was assessed using NIRS for macro-nutrient assessments and wet chemistry for the micro-nutrients.

Full nutritional analysis was done on two sub-samples from each variety or mix from each location. Only six key nutritional categories are reported:
  • crude protein (CP)
  • total digestible nutrients (TDN), estimate of energy
  • calcium (Ca)
  • phosphorus (P)
  • potassium (K)
  • magnesium (Mg)
Variety tables

Pea Mixtures
Spring-fall Silage

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 2019.
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Alexander Fedko.
This document is maintained by Jennifer Rutter.
This information published to the web on January 22, 2014.
Last Reviewed/Revised on January 29, 2019.