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2012-240 Nutritional evaluation of barley forages for silage

Researcher: John McKinnon

Funded: $46,000

Project Description:

Number of years: 3

When providing a sample of barley forage grown for silage, producers expect quality standard information so that they can plan their feed rations.

However, some aspects of barley forage quality can vary based on environment, maturity, and varietal differences. These variances can cause a difference of a third of a pound per day, resulting in considerably different costs.


This research confirmed that barley varieties vary in nutrient content and digestibility of structural carbohydrates including neutral detergent fiber (NDF) fraction. While these variations did not affect finishing cattle to a large degree, backgrounding cattle had more forage/silage in their diets, and therefore exhibited different results.

CDC Cowboy, with a potential for higher NDF digestibility exhibited poor performance. This may have resulted from its higher NDF content leading to lower dietary energy content, or to the fact that differences in NDF digestibility in the silages grown at the U of S in year two were not as great as found in the survey conducted in year 1. However, this higher NDF content did minimize issues with digestive disturbances in the backgrounding phase.

For more information on the project, see:

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