The Highway 16 Crop Testing Unit (CTU), chaired by Dave Merz, established 24 varieties of grass and an equal number of alfalfa varieties at three sites each in 2003. These were harvested in one to two cuts as rainfall produced measurable dry matter in 2004. A fourth grass test was reseeded at Mapes in 2004 with good establishment. A total of twenty varieties of oats and barley were sown and harvested for cereal silage at four sites in 2004. Fifteen of these varieties were also evaluated for grain production at the same 4 sites (Mapes, Fort Fraser, Francois Lake and Smithers). The CTU appreciates the assistance of Glen Dale Agra Services in providing a workstation, fertilizer and other support. Gratitude is also extended to NAPP Enterprises for their donation of a Despatch Drying Oven from the old Prince George Experimental Farm.
With the assistance of Traugott Klein, Plot Foreman; Mary Lea Schmidt, plot worker; and Jim Tingle, Technical Advisor; the CTU was able to complete all test objectives under budget in 2004.
Crop and Site Highlights
Alfalfa – AC Cariboo, TopHand, Accel, Rocket and Magnum Wet out yielded check variety Peace at three sites (Mapes, June 30 and Aug 24; Fort Fraser, June 24 and Aug 23 and Smithers, June 25). Ten other varieties out yielded Peace at both Fort Fraser and Smithers. Peace DM yields in kg/ha were 4381, 4023, and 2204 at Mapes, Fort Fraser, and Smithers, respectively.
Grass – On average, LMR 72 and Promesse timothy out yielded check variety Climax and Carnival tall fescue was equal to check variety Courtenay at Fort Fraser, Decker Lake and Smithers. Six varieties of orchardgrass failed to outyield Kay and two varieties of bromegrass yielded less than check variety Carlton.
The following are check variety DM yields (kg/ha) by location:
|Variety – Species||Fort Fraser||Decker Lake||Smithers|
|June 23 & Aug 26||July 5||June 25|
|Courtenay tall fescue||5894||2395||3003|
Cereal Silage – Cereal silage tests were harvested at Mapes ( Aug 17), Fort Fraser ( Aug 9 ), Francois Lake ( Aug 11) and Smithers ( July 29) . Check variety DM yields in kg/ha were:
|Mapes||Fort Fraser||Francois Lake||Smithers|
|AC Lacombe barley||8035||4990||7145||2942|
Waldren and CDC Bell out yielded Derby at 3 out of four sites. At Mapes plot lodging significantly reduced the yield of CDC Baler, CDC Bell and Waldren. Ponoka barley out yielded AC Lacombe at the three western test sites.
Cereal Grain – Three oat and twelve barley varieties were harvested at Mapes, Fort Fraser, Francois Lake and Smithers by hand and threshed and cleaned at the Vanderhoof workstation.
Boyer oats out yielded Derby at all four sites.
- By location, the barley varieties which outperformed AC Lacombe were:
- Mapes – Manny, Niska, Trochu and Vivar
- Fort Fraser – Niska
- Francois Lake – CDC Bold, CDC Dolly, Helgasen, Manny, Ponoka, Seebee, Vivar
- Smithers – Helgasen, Manny, Ponoka, Trochu, Vivar
All crop tests were planted in four replicate randomized block or split plot designs. Annual yields were compared to standard check varieties as determined by the Forage Cultivar Evaluation Committee for BC.
Perennial forage was planted at Mapes, Fort Fraser, Decker Lake and Smithers in 2003 and harvested at three sites in 2004. Alfalfa at Decker Lake failed to achieve a satisfactory stand and the grass test was resown at Mapes. Fertilizer was broadcast in late October each year in lbs/acre for:
Alfalfa – 34N – 40 P2O5 – 59 K2O – 31S – 2B
Grass – 72N – 42 P2O5 – 60 K2O – 30S
Cereal grain and silage had 200 lbs of 17-20-0-14 drilled in with the seed and 28N-20 P2O5- 60 K20 broadcast and harrowed prior to planting.
Dry matter yields were harvested on 30 square feet with a Swift Current harvester. Green yields were weighed, sub sampled and frozen for later DM determination at 700C for 48 hours in a forced air convection oven.
Cereal grain plots were harvested by hand (2 rod rows on 9 inch spacing ) and threshed and cleaned at Glen Dale Agra Services.
Field Days were held at three test sites in mid-June.
Pictures and preliminary test data were displayed at three fall fairs and the FNBHC AGM.
Pictures and articles have been submitted to the Farmwest website and BCFC newsletter.
2004 Highlights will be presented at 2005 Forage/Beef Seminars and Producer meetings.
A CTU Directors meeting was held Dec. 6 in Fraser Lake to review the 2004 results.
All funding sponsors have been recognized on site signs, field day and seminar handouts, displays, and the Farmwest website.
Significant funding sources include:
- Beef Cattle Industry Development Fund
- BC Investment Agriculture Foundation
- Nechako/Kitimaat Development Fund
- Glen Dale Agra Services
- BC Forage Council
- Sinkut Mountain Cattlemen’s Association
- Fort Fraser Cattlemen’s Association
- Lakes District Cattlemen’s Association
- Smithers Farmer’s Institute
Special thanks are due to the farm co-operators who provide land, labour assistance, and fencing and who also serve on the Highway 16 CTU Management Committee.
Mapes – Monroe and Cindy Muir, Stump Road – alfalfa, grass and cereals
Fort Fraser – Art and Audrey Wiens, Highway 16 – alfalfa, grass and cereals
Francois Lake – Peebles Ranch, Walker Road – cereal grain and silage
Decker Lake – Herb Neville, Palling Road E. – grass
Smithers – Leroy Taylor, Snake Road – alfalfa, grass and cereals
Other members of the Management Committee include Graeme Johnstone and Leah Sheffield of Smithers and Glen Birky of Glen Dale Agra Services.
J. N. Tingle, P. Ag.