2005 Summary Report – Highway 16 Crop Testing Unit

BC Forage Council – Highway 16 Crop Testing Unit


The Highway 16 Crop Testing Unit (CTU) 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 and 2005 except for the alfalfa test at Mapes which winter-killed in January 2005. A fourth grass test was reseeded at Mapes in 2004 and harvested in 2005. A total of twenty varieties of oats and barley were sown and harvested for cereal silage at four sites in both years. Fourteen 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 work station, fertilizer and other support including approximately $500 in repairs to the drying oven.

With the assistance of Traugott Klein, Plot Foreman, Manfred Kutzner, plot worker, Mary Lea Schmidt, drier operator and Jim Tingle, Technical Advisor, the CTU was able to complete all test objectives under budget in both years.

Extension highlights for 2005 included a June tour of the Vanderhoof area grass tests by timothy breeder Hideki Yatsu from Hokkaido, Japan and sales rep Edward Mercer from Oregon – both from Snow Brand Seeds. They concluded that their current entry SBT 9501 was too early maturing to compete with Climax and that they would enter later-maturing lines in future tests.

Field tours of all test sites were sponsored on Aug 3-4, 2005 when BCIDF funding was obtained to feature alfalfa breeder Dr. Surya Acharya from the AAFC Lethbridge Research Station.

Combined year data has now been listed on the farmwest.com website. The third year harvest will be conducted in 2006.


Alfalfa – AC Cariboo, TopHand, Magnum Wet, Hybridforce 400, Runner and PICKSEED 2065MF outyielded check variety Peace at Fort Fraser and Smithers on two year average dry natter production. Peace DM yields in kg/ha for 2004/2005 were 5386 and 1901 at Fort Fraser and Smithers, respectively. In 2005, two cuts were harvested at Fort Fraser on June 30 and Aug 24 and a single cut was recorded at Smithers on June 28.

Grass – Timpro and Talon timothy outyielded Climax at two of four sites. Kay orchardgrass was only outperformed by Takena and Okay at Smithers but was highest yielding at the other three sites. MB 15 hybrid bromegrass outyielded smooth bromegrass Carlton at Fort Fraser only. Carnival tall fescue significantly outyielded Courtenay at Mapes and Decker Lake and was equal to Courtenay at Fort Fraser and Smithers.

The following are check variety DM yields (kg/ha) and 2005 harvest date by location :
(Mapes is 2005 ; other sites are combined 2004 and 2005 data)

Check Variety DM Yields (kg/ha)
Variety / Species Mapes Fort Fraser Decker Lake Smithers
Harvest Date June 22
Aug 25
June 20
Sept 5
June 23
Sept 19
June 27
Sept 26
Climax timothy 7071 5771 6589 5273
Kay orchardgrass 8203 5924 5652 4519
Carlton bromegrass 7229 5511 5320 5205
Courtenay tall fescue 8115 6582 4457 6586

Cereal Silage – Cereal silage tests were harvested at Mapes (Aug 18), Fort Fraser (Aug 12), Francois Lake (Aug 17) and Smithers (Aug 9) . Two year average check variety DM yields in kg/ha were:

Forage oats CDC Bell and CDC Baler averaged 117% and 109%, respectively, of the two year average yield of Derby. CDC Bell had the best regrowth.

Across four sites and two years, Ponoka barley (113%), Seebee (111%) and Helgasen (110%) outyielded the check variety AC Lacombe. Ponoka outyielded AC Lacombe by 30% as did CDC Cowboy by 22% at the two western test sites. Manny did not yield as well as Ponoka in 2005 and dropped to equal to AC Lacombe average across sites and years.

Cereal Grain – Twelve barley varieties were harvested at Mapes, Fort Fraser, Francois Lake and Smithers by hand and threshed and cleaned at the Vanderhoof work station. Three oat varieties were harvested except at Francois Lake in 2005 where they failed to mature.

Boyer oats outyielded Derby at all sites harvested.

By location, the barley varieties which outperformed AC Lacombe on two year averages were:
Mapes – Vivar and Manny
Fort Fraser – nil
Francois Lake – all but Dillon
Smithers – Ponoka, Manny, 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 B.C.

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 winterkilled in January 2005 at Mapes due to severe icing. 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

The grasses received 200 lb/acre of 21-0-0 after first cut in 2005.

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, subsampled and frozen for later DM determination at 70C 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.


  • A timothy breeder’s tour of Vanderhoof sites was held on June 13, 2005.
  • Field Days were held at all test sites on August 3 & 4.
  • All field days had articles written in Vanderhoof and Smithers press.
  • Pictures and preliminary test data were displayed at three fall fairs.
  • Pictures and articles have been submitted to the Farmwest website and BCFC newsletter.
  • 2004 Highlights were presented at the 2005 Forage/Beef Seminar at Williams Lake and at several Highway 16 producer meetings.
  • A CTU Directors meeting was held in December 2005 in Fraser Lake to review the 2004 results and to plan future direction.
  • A summary of the two year average results has been posted on the Farmwest website.


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 chaired by Dave Merz :

  • 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 Shirley Hamblin of Smithers and Glen Birky and Norm Dueck of Glen Dale Agra Services.

J. N. Tingle, P. Ag.
Technical Advisor