Integrating annual forage crops provides additional feed security and flexibility for livestock feeding operations.
Whenever you introduce livestock to new feed, care must be taken to minimize the risks of nutritional deficiencies or other health issues. Testing feed and consulting with a livestock or animal nutrition specialist is recommended.
Annual forages can be divided into cool-season and warm-season crops. Cool-season crops thrive under cooler temperatures, while warm-season crops are adapted to warmer areas and take more heat units to grow.
The main cool-season crops grown in Saskatchewan include:
- Spring cereals such as oats, barley, triticale, and wheat;
- Winter cereals such as fall rye, winter wheat, and winter triticale;
- Cool season legumes such as peas; and
- Cool season brassicas including canola, forage rape, forage radish and turnip, and kale.
The primary warm-season crops grown in Saskatchewan include corn and millets.
Additional details about how these crops can be used either as monocultures or as mixtures for grazing, silage, or green feed are provided on the pages linked to in the left-hand menu.
In addition, there are a broad range of other annual crops that have been utilized to a lesser extent and for which there is limited research data. These include sorghum and sorghum-sudan grass, annual ryegrass, rutabagas, mangels, sugarbeets, faba beans, fenugreek, lentil, annual medics, annual clovers, annual vetches, plantain, phacelia, hemp, buckwheat, sunflower, and chicory. In many cases these species may be included in mixtures or polycrop blends, and there is limited information about individual performance. To avoid risk, producers should exercise caution by seeking sound economic, agronomic, and nutritional information prior to purchase or utilization of these species.