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Fall Growth Potential of Cereal Grain Forages in Northern Arkansas

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In Arkansas, maximizing fall forage production from cereal grains is important for optimizing growth of fall-weaned calves (Bos taurus). Our objectives were to evaluate eight cultivars of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), oat (Avena sativa L.), rye (Secale cereale L.), and triticale (xTriticosecale Wittmack) for their potential to accumulate fall forage dry matter (DM). At Fayetteville during 2004, triticale and oat cultivars accumulated DM in a cubic (P 0.01) pattern over time, most likely because growing tillers exhibited stem elongation, and were then susceptible to freeze damage in late December. Wheat and rye cultivars accumulated DM in less complex patterns over harvest dates, but the maximum yield for any wheat cultivar was only 2554 kg ha-1 compared to 4661 kg ha-1 for oat. For Batesville 2004 and Fayetteville 2005, DM yields ranked similarly, but respective mean yields (491 and 988 kg ha-1) averaged over all harvest dates were only 25 and 50% of those for Fayetteville 2004 (1960 kg ha-1), largely due to drought. For Batesville 2005, growing conditions were somewhat unique relative to other site-years, and wheat, rye, and triticale cultivars accumulated an overall mean of 4148 kg ha-1 of forage DM on the final (4 January) harvest date. In contrast, oat cultivars were sensitive to freezing temperatures in November, and ranked last among all cultivars for yield on the final harvest date. Producers can usually improve fall forage production with cultivars that exhibit some stem elongation when planted in early September; however, this trait may make winter survival problematic.
Gunsaulis, J.L. , Coblentz, W.K. , Ogden, R.K. , Bacon, R.K. , Coffey, K.P. , Hubbell, D.S. III , Skinner, J.V. Jr. , Akins, M.S. , Caldwell, J.D. , Lusby, K.S. , Gunter, S.A.
Includes references
Agronomy journal 2008 July-Aug, v. 100, no. 4
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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