Ohio Forage Yields Respectable Despite Difficult Summer

US - The success of adapted varieties and 6.3 tons/acre ryegrass yields are amongst topics discussed in the 2012 Ohio Forage Performance Trails report.
calendar icon 4 January 2013
clock icon 2 minute read
Ohio State University

The report includes yield trials of commercial varieties of alfalfa, red and white clover, tall fescue, and annual ryegrass tests planted in 2008 to 2012 across three sites in Ohio: South Charleston, Wooster, and North Baltimore, write John McCormick and Mark Sulc, Ohio State University Extension.

Forage yields were very respectable despite the dry summer, although our testing sites received more rainfall than many areas of Ohio in 2012. Yields averaged from 5.8 to 6.5 tons/acre for alfalfa, 5.6 tons/acre for red clover, 2.4 tons/acre for white clover, 5.7 tons/acre for tall fescue, and 6.3 tons/acre for annual ryegrass (planted in September 2011).

The results demonstrate the importance of selecting adapted varieties with a proven yield record across locations. In our 2012 trials, individual alfalfa varieties varied in yield from 14 to 20 per cent depending on location.

Improved red clover varieties yielded up to 53 per cent more than common (VNS) red clover. White clover varieties differed in yield by as much as 12.6 per cent, tall fescue varieties differed by up to 7 per cent yield, and annual ryegrass varieties differed by up to 42 per cent yield.

Links to forage performance trials in other states are included on the Ohio Forage Performance Trials website. One very useful link is an interactive website to compare alfalfa varieties across many locations (including Ohio data).

It is important to consider yield not only close to home, but across several environments, because every year represents different weather conditions. Varieties with good yield performance across multiple environments are likely to produce more stable yields across soil types and years on your farm.

Results from the 2012 Ohio Forage Performance Trials are now available online at http://hostedweb.cfaes.ohio-state.edu/perf/.There is also a downloadable pdf file for easy printing of the results, as well as downloadable Excel files.

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