It is well known that the inclusion of legume crops improves the protein content and digestibility of your forage stand resulting in improved overall quality of livestock feed whether utilized as hay, silage or pasture. However, livestock producers often shy away from high legume pastures due to the risk of bloat in ruminant. To help minimize this risk, there are multiple alternative legume varieties that are considered to be bloat-safe, one of which is sainfoin.
Sainfoin contains condensed tannins which are a compound in the plant that attaches themselves to the bloat-inducing proteins in alfalfa, thus helping to eliminate the potential for bloat. The new sinafoin variety, AC Mountainview, that has been developed at the Lethbridge Research centre is proving to be competitive in forage stands and has higher regrowth than previous varieties, allowing it to regrow at the same rate as alfalfa. Livestock producers could now use AC Mountainview as a natural bloat control and graze higher legume pastures confidently.
To test the new AC Mountainview Sainfoin variety in an applied research setting, 9 of the Agricultural Research and Extension Council’s member associations teamed up with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. Fourteen demonstrations sites were established with a 60% AC Mountainview/Alfalfa and 40% grass mixture across the province and one site in the BC Peace.
The goal of this project is to provide farmers with the knowledge necessary to establish a high legume pasture (60%+ legumes) and then graze that pasture effectively the year following establishment. High legume pastures have a greater capacity to withstand drought conditions and can be extremely productive, meaning producers could keep livestock on pastures for longer while maintaining good gains.
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