Government of New Brunswick

R.E. McQueen1
(Partner: Atlantic Dairy & Forage Institute Inc.)

Abstract: A survey and trial with lactating dairy cows compared the nutritive value of barley grown in New Brunswick with feed barley from western Canada. Twenty-one samples from farms in the Grand Falls area and eighteen from Florenceville had a wide range in bulk density and nutrient composition. Mean values for components were similar to reference values for feed barley. But high amounts of foreign plant matter in many samples led to lower protein content and higher neutral and acid detergent fiber contents than the reference values. Samples were also obtained with nutritive value equal or higher than the reference barley indicating significant improvement to the quality of the average local barley is possible through relatively simple means such as cleaning. New Brunswick barley was compared with commercial western barley for lactating dairy cows by a nutrition study where four TMR diets were formulated containing: 100 percent New Brunswick barley, 67 percent N.B. barley and 33 percent western barley, 33 percent N.B. barley and 67 percent western barley, or 100 percent western barley. Milk yield was average for cows in early lactation fed TMR based on barley and timothy silage. Milk yield and percentage of fat, protein and lactose were not affected by source of barley. Feed consumption of the four test TMR over the 4 month trial was not affected by barley source. Cows gained weight throughout the trial but without any effect due to barley source. The total net energy derived by the cows from the four diets also did not differ with barley source. Commercial feed barley from New Brunswick sources was equivalent to that from western Canada for lactating cows.

1Atlantic Dairy & Forage Institute Inc., 115 Sunbury Drive, Fredericton Junction, NB E0G 1TO