Annual Ryegrass Forage Story from Southern Canada

From the Canadian Cattleman magazine, a story from Alberta about a cattleman with an eye for steer health and profits. Click here for the whole article.

Andy Schuepbach, a registered Hereford breeder in southern Alberta, uses two varieties of ryegrass to provide fall and winter feed for his cattle. The high protein content of these grasses eliminates the need for any other protein source.

“We grow barley for silage, and after it’s seeded we seed 10 pounds of a mixture of Italian ryegrass and annual ryegrass. The Italian ryegrass has phenomenal feed value. We bale a little for our calves but use most of it for winter grazing,” he says.

The Italian ryegrass has fine leaves and is very palatable so young calves do well on it. Calves won’t eat coarse feed, and this grass is very soft. “We calve in February and March, and always struggle with ulcers in the calves. We have a lot of windbreaks and open-face sheds with bars across, halfway back, so the calves can get into the back part. This is where we set up a round bale with panels around it. The calves can eat the bale through the panel bars,” he explains.