Knowledge Nuggets | Fact Sheets | Research Papers
Knowledge Nuggets
  • Many cereal or legume species are used for annual forages. Some warm season and most cool season crops can be used for summer grazing, swath grazing, hay, silage or yellow feed.
  • Annual forages can provide hay or silage on its own, or as a companion crop with a perennial.
  • Annual forages can be used to compliment perennial forages, or they can be utilized as emergency feed.
  • Utilizing annual forages in the crop rotation allows you to diversify from grain without taking land out of annual crop production.
  • Not only will annuals help you get better returns from your perennial pastures, they can help you extend your growing season. Begin the grazing season on a perennial pasture and move to an annual pasture when it’s ready. The perennial pasture can then rest for later use.
  • Cereals produce the maximum amount of forage when seeded and fertilized for good grain yields. Cereal species respond to fertilizer which increases costs but increases production.
  • Cereals tend to accumulate nitrates during cool growing conditions if large amounts of nitrogen are available.
  • Annual legume lower fertilizer costs because little or no nitrogen fertilizer needs to be applied. There are rotational benefits with annual legumes where about 25% of the fixed nitrogen remains in the soil.
  • Annual cereals cut as green feed can provide better quality feed than perennial grass hay if the crop is cut in the early dough stage.
  • Cereals differ in productivity, palatability and feed value. For grazing, all species are palatable provided they do not get to mature. Adjust the vegetative stage of harvest so the feed provides adequate protein and fiber.
  • Because an annual crop can be grazed four to six weeks after seeding and fall-seeded winter cereals can be grazed as early as mid May, you can select the species of annuals based on when you need them.

Fact Sheets

Annual Crops: An Excellent Way to Increase Your Feeding Flexibility - available in PDF format only

Annual Forages - SK

Annual Pastures - Ontario

Cultivar Description - Murphy Oat - available in PDF format only

Fall Rye Production - AB

Forage Barleys of Manitoba - available in PDF format only

UC SAREP Cover Crop Resource Page

University of Lethbridge Herbarium

Research Papers

Agronomic Performance and Beef Cattle Nutrition Suitability of Forage Oat Varieties Grown in the Peace Region of Alberta - available in PDF format only

Annual cool season crops for grazing by beef cattle. A Canadian Review - available in PDF format only

Crop Ecology, Production and Management - available in PDf format only

Cropping systems for spring and winter cereals under simulated pasture: Sward structure - available in PDF format only

Evaluation of Forage Type Barley Varieties for Forage Yield and Nutritive Value in the Peace River Region of Alberta - available in PDF format only

Potential of Spring Barley, Oat and Triticale Intercrops with Field Peas for Forage Production, Nutrition Quality and Beef Cattle Diet

Response of forage yield and yield components to planting date and silage/pasture management in spring seeded winter cereal/spring oat cropping systems - available in PDF format only

Seed ratios and rates that maximize annual forage production in Black soil zones of central Saskatchewan - available in PDF only

The potential roles of annual forage legumes in Canada: A Review - available in PDF only

Tolerance of annual forage legumes to herbicides in Alberta - available in PDF format only

Yield potential and forage quality of annual forage legumes in southern Alberta and northeast Saskatchewan - available in PDF format only

Spring Triticale Varieties Forage Yield, Nutients Composition and Suitablility for Beef Cattle Production

Let us know of more good research papers for this topic.
  For more information about the content of this document, contact Grant Lastiwka.
This document is maintained by Linda Hunt.
This information published to the web on November 9, 2004.
Last Reviewed/Revised on May 24, 2018.

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