Yields, Quality and Suitability of Four Annual Forages for Deer Pasture in North Central Alberta

The Open Agriculture Journal 5 June 2009 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874331500903010026


Field pea (Pisum sativum), canola (Brassica napus), turnips (Brassica rapa) and Berseem clover (Trifolium alexandrinum) were grown in north central Alberta to assess their potential yield and quality and to evaluate their utilization and preference by white-tailed deer. Herbage DM yield, crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), absolute and relative herbage utilization, and dietary preference were the criteria used. The four annual forages produced over 3, 000 to 11, 000 kg ha-1 DM with canola and turnips producing higher DM yields than field pea and berseem clover. Forage CP for the four seeded forages ranged from 140 to 305 g kg-1 DM with canola and turnips having higher CP concentrations than field pea and berseem clover. NDF concentrations ranged from 246 to 480 g kg-1 DM and were lowest in turnips, intermediate in field pea, and highest in canola and berseem clover. Absolute herbage utilization remained similar (P>0.05) among the four forage species. In contrast, relative herbage utilization was greater from berseem clover (66% DM) than field pea (42% DM) or canola (22% DM) or turnips (20% DM). Differences in dietary preference occurred among the four forages (berseem clover ≥ field pea ≥ turnips ≥ canola). These results suggest that annual forages, especially berseem clover and field pea, show promise for increasing forage yield and quality and suitability for late season grazing.

Keywords: Berseem clover, canola, field pea, quality,, suitability, turnips, yield.
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