Agronomic Performance and Beef Cattle Nutrition Suitability of Forage Oat Varieties Grown in the Peace Region of Alberta, Canada

  •  Kabal Gill    
  •  Akim Omokanye    
  •  JP. Pettyjohn    
  •  Meghan Elsen    


The economic value of cereal forage for feeding beef cattle is dependent on both its yield and feeding value (i.e., crude protein, minerals, detergent fiber, energy, digestibility and animal performance). The objective of this study was to identify oat varieties grown in the Peace Region of Alberta, Canada, with superior forage yield and feed quality for beef cattle production. Nine oat varieties were compared in field experiments from 2009 to 2011. Significant differences between the tested oat varieties were observed for the plant height, forage dry matter (DM) yield and several of the protein, fiber, macro minerals, micro minerals, energy and digestibility parameters. Three of the 4 taller oat varieties (Murphy, Foothill, CDC Baler and Waldern) also ranked high in DM. Based on the DM data, Murphy and AC Mustang were identified as the high forage yield potential varieties in the study area. However, most of the quality indicators, used for grouping the varieties, indicated that the low potential DM group (probably due to the presence of CDC SO-I) appeared to have slightly better forage quality than the high and the medium potential forage DM yield groups. The tested oat varieties had sufficient levels of some nutrition parameters but not for some others. Because of these inconsistencies, some form of commercial mineral supplement would be required to optimize the health, growth and reproduction of beef cattle. The implications of the results obtained in this study in relation to beef cattle production system are highlighted.

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