Peace Country Beef & Forage, Animal Science Building Grande Prairie Regional College, Box 3000, Fairview, AB T0H 1L0, Canada
Key words: Crop combination, feed value, strip intercrop, greenfeed system, beef cattle.
Four annual crops were used for the following 5 strip intercrop treatments over 2 years: (1) barley- field peas-oat, (2) barley-field peas-canola, (3) barley-canola-oat, (4) barley-canola, and (5) oats-canola. The crops within each strip intercrop treatment were seeded side be sided. Forage harvest for dry matter (DM) and nutritive value was done across the crops within each treatment. Also, the four crops used (barley, canola, field peas and oat) were examined for their individual DM and forage nutritive value. The forage DM was not different among strip intercrop treatments as well as among individual crops. Forage DM was generally higher in 2011 than 2010, with a difference of 2494 kg ha-1 between the two years for strip intercrops and 3190 kg ha-1 for individual crops. The forage crude protein (CP) and CP fractions, and CP yield (CPY) were not significantly different among strip intercrop treatments. For individual crops, forage CP and only two of the CP fractions showed significant differences among individual crops. The two cereals used (oat and barley) consistently showed lower CP, acid detergent insoluble nitrogen (ADICP) and digestible crude protein (DCP) values than field peas and canola for the individual crops. Inclusion of canola in some of the strip-intercrops seemed to have some positive effects on forage calcium (Ca) content compared to when canola was not included. Peas on its own had the highest Ca content of all the individual crops, but did not have any significant effect when it was present in the crop combinations.
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