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Perennial Forage Trial

by Mike Gretzinger

deer in plots
Spring brought deer to our fields looking for tasty greens.

The deer sure love the Perennial Forage Trials and who can blame them? They love feasting on a mixture of alfalfa, sainfoin and bromes. We tend to be crop focused quite a bit, but forages are an essential part of farming in southern Alberta with the proximity of feedlots, horse lovers and international hay exporters.

This trial, lead by Dianne Westerlund at Chinook Applied Research Association (CARA), includes regional groups from across the province. We will evaluate the stands as they develop and look at maturity stages, botanical composition (grass vs legume), forage dry matter, nutritional analysis and economic analysis.

perennial forage trials
Forages are an essential part of farming in southern Alberta with the proximity of feedlots, horse lovers and international hay exporters.

The Perennial Forage Trials will run for three years. Farming Smarter established the pictured plots May 28, 2019 and spring 2020 marked the start of the second year. Given the late establishment date and severe drought last year, we are very impressed at the results so far. We also planted an identical set of plots in Medicine Hat in the fall of 2019. Those blank plots are crops/mixes that didn’t establish and were replanted in 2020.