Swath grazing triticale and corn compared to barley and a traditional winter feeding method in central Alberta.

Baron, V.S., Doce, R.R., Basarab, J.A., and Dick, A.C. (2014). "Swath grazing triticale and corn compared to barley and a traditional winter feeding method in central Alberta.", Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 94(7), pp. 1125-1137. doi : 10.4141/CJPS2013-412  Access to full text

Abstract

A 5-yr study compared swath-grazed triticale (× Triticosecale Wittmack), corn (Zea mays L.) and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) with a traditional pen-fed, wintering diet for gestating beef cows on the basis of dry matter (DM) yield, carrying capacity, nutritive value, cow performance and total daily feeding cost. Cows (690±70 kg BW) were fed a control total mixed ration (TMR) or allocated to swath-grazed treatments in 2.5-ha paddocks. Triticale yielded 15% more than corn and corn 32% more than barley. Carrying capacity of triticale (1145 cow-d ha1) and corn (1004 cow-d ha1) were similar and both were greater (P<0.05) than control (516 cow-d ha1) and barley (554 cow-d ha1). Average utilization for triticale (83.7%) was greater (P<0.05) than corn (74.7%) and barley (71.7%). In vitro true digestibility (IVTD) for corn was highest (682 g kg1), followed by triticale (620 g kg1), then barley (570 g kg1) and the control TMR (571 g kg1). Average cow mean body condition score (BCS) was higher (P<0.05) for triticale and corn (3.0) than barley (2.9), but lower than the control (3.1). Thus, cow reproductive performance should not be compromised by swath grazing. Total daily feeding costs, averaged over years, ranked (P<0.05) triticale ($0.78 cow-d1)<corn ($1.05 cow-d1)<barley ($1.24 cow-d1)<control ($1.98 cow-d1).

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