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Spring cereals

Oats, barley and triticale can be swath grazed or harvested for greenfeed or grain, and generally provide better-quality forage than perennial grass hay. Maintaining spring cereal pasture for late-season use; however, is difficult because they produce most of their forage eight to 10 weeks after seeding and don’t re-grow well after being grazed.


  • Oats are a high-yielding annual forage, particularly in the black and grey-wood soil zone.
  • Graze when oats reach 10 inches (25 cm).
  • Not as good overall quality as barley for silage.
  • Staggering the spring seeding date will spread out pasture production.
  • Useful for swath grazing or as silage or greenfeed.
  • Should be harvested at the late milk stage for silage and greenfeed.
  • Forage oat varieties include: CDC Haymaker, CDC Baler, and Murphy.


  • Barley is suitable for swath grazing, greenfeed, or silage in all soil zones of the province.
  • Preferred cereal for swath grazing and silage.
  • Produces the best combination of yield and quality for silage of any of the cereals.
  • Smooth-awned varieties are recommended.
  • Graze when barley reaches 10 inches (25 cm).
  • Cut in the early dough stage for greenfeed or silage.
  • Does not have as much potential for regrowth as oats.
  • Forage varieties available include: AB Advantage, AB Cattlelac, AC Ranger, CDC Cowboy, and CDC Maverick.


  • Triticale can produce similar forage yields to oats on black soils.
  • More tolerant of dry conditions than oats.
  • Graze when triticale reaches 10 inches (25 cm).
  • Cut in the soft dough stage for greenfeed and silage.
  • Lodging is not usually a problem.
  • Palatability may be lower than oats or barley, especially if cut late for harvest.
  • Rough awns similar to barley.
  • Triticale is later-maturing than oats or barley.
  • Triticale will not tiller or re-grow as well as oats after cutting.
  • Varieties available include: AAC Delight, Bunker, Tyndal, and Taza.


  • Wheat is suited to all soil zones of the province.
  • Some wheat varieties can produce as much dry matter as oats or barley.
  • Quality for silage or greenfeed is generally lower than barley.
  • Harvest wheat in the soft-dough stage for greenfeed or silage.
  • Regrowth after cutting or grazing is not as good as oats.

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