LUARS 2019 – Research Results from Forage Experiments
Dr. Tarlok Singh Sahota CCA
Forage crops are an integral and important component of the cropping systems in northwestern Ontario. Forage research at LUARS compared some new crops with conventional crops, evaluated some new varieties, weed control in Galega, comparison of lime and gypsum for Galega production and maximizing Galega yield. Results are summarised as follows:
√Comparative Performance of Alfalfa and Galega: Two cuts were taken!
• Dry matter yields from Galega seeded in 2011 @ 25, 35 or 45 kg seed/ha and alfalfa seeded @ 13 kg/ha were similar this year. However, averaged over 2012-2019, Galega seeded @ 35 kg/ha produced significantly higher dry matter yield (5,523 kg/ha) than alfalfa (4,660 kg/ha).
• Protein content in Galega seeded @ 35 kg/ha was 1.7 % point higher in the first cut and 4.5 % point higher in the second cut as compared to alfalfa seeded @ 13 kg/ha.
• Protein content in Galega @ 35 kg/ha, averaged over 2016 to 2019, was 1.3 % point higher in the first and 2.2 % point higher in the second cut than that in alfalfa.
• Galega had lower mineral content (K, Ca, Mg, Cu, Zn, Mn and Na) than alfalfa in the first cut (averaged over 2016 to 2019). In the second cut, Mg, Cu, and Mn were higher in Galega than in alfalfa. Galega contained higher amounts of iron (Fe) than alfalfa in both the cuts.
• Higher yield and higher protein content in Galega than in alfalfa, will make Galega a better fodder than alfalfa!
√New Annual Forage Crops:
• Ten annual forage crops (some at different seed rates) were compared for their production potential. Belle Red Clover, Frosty Berseem (at 13 kg seed/ha), Balansa, Italian ryegrass, Choice Chicory and Tonic Plantain had very poor growth and were not worth harvesting.
• Forage peas produced the highest dry matter yield (5,079 kg/ha). Union Ultimate Blend (30 % Hairy Vetch, 25 % Italian Ryegrass, 15 % Sorghum, 10 % Crimson Clover, 10 % Winfred, 5% Hunter, and 5% Graza) + CDC Coalition gave the second highest dry matter yield (4,842 kg/ha).
• Dry matter yield from Berseem, Frosty Berseem (at 16 kg/ha) and All Brassica Blend (alone or in mixture with Berseem) was very poor and ranged from 644 to 1,365 kg/ha.
• Frosty Berseem, All Brassica Blend alone @ 4kg seed/ha or in mixture with Berseem had higher protein content (21.1-22.5 %) than Berseem (19.7/8), Forage Peas (14.4 %) and Union Ultimate Blend + CDC Coalition (9.9 %).
• Highest RFV (163) was obtained with All Brassica Blend @ 2 kg seed/ha + Berseem @ 13 kg seed/ha. In other forages, RFV ranged from 114 (Union Ultimate Blend + CDC Coalition) to 144 (Frosty Berseem @ 16.25 kg seed/ha).
√Optimizing Seeding Rate in Kernza and Comparing its Forage Production Potential with Perennial Rye and in Mixture with Alfalfa:
• Optimum seed rate of Kernza appeared to be 90 seeds/m2. At this rate, it produced 3,141 kg/ha dry matter yield, which equaled dry matter yield from Kernza at other populations (70, 110 1nd 130 seeds/m2) as also with alfalfa + Ace 1 (Perennial Rye) 80:20 mixture. However, Ace 1 did not survive beyond winter 2018-2019 and alfalfa + Ace 1 was virtually alfalfa alone.
• Alfalfa + Kernza (80:20 mixture) recorded the highest dry matter yield (4,259 kg/ha).
• In the first cut, protein content was higher in alfalfa + Kernza/or Ace 1 (80:20) mixtures (16.6 %) than Kernza at varying populations (70-130 seeds/m2) by 2.6-3.2 % points. In the second cut, the protein content in Kernza ranged from 11 % (130 seeds/m2) to 13.9 % (70 seeds/m2). Protein content was 3.2-6.1 % point higher with alfalfa + Kernza (80:20 mixture; 17.1 % protein) than Kernza alone.
• RFV was higher in both the cuts with alfalfa + Kernza (80:20 mixture) than with Kernza alone.
√Comparative performance of Kernza, Perennial Rye, RR Alfalfa, Conventional Alfalfa, Sainfoin and Chicory:
• Dry matter yield from the two cuts ranged from 662 kg/ha (Sainfoin variety Glenview) to 4,486 kg/ha (RR Alfalfa variety Mission HVXRR).
• Though 135 alfalfa had the lowest dry matter yield (4,030 kg/ha), it was statistically at par with all other alfalfa varieties including Mission HVXRR. In other words the dry matter yield differences between alfalfa varieties were not significant!
• Perennial Rye (Ace 1) couldn’t sustain itself to the second cut and had a low dry matter yield (1,459 kg/ha). Dry matter yield from Chicory (1,042 kg/ha) and Sainfoin (Glenview 662 kg/ha; Mountainview 1,104 kg/ha) were lower than even that of Perennial Rye.
• Dry matter yield from Kernza (4,328 kg/ha) equaled with alfalfa yield(s).
• Protein content in the first cut ranged from 20.5 % (135) to 21.9 % in alfalfa (WL354HQ), 20.9 % in Chicory, 16.9-18 % in Sainfoin, 16.4 % in Perennial Rye (Ace 1) and 13.5 % in Kernza.
• RFV was highest (142) in Sainfoin (Glenview) and Chicory! And, it ranged from 112 (135) to 129 (WL319HQ) in other forage types.
Considering the dry matter yield, protein content and RFV, RR Alfalfa could be recommended for cultivation on farms!
√Galega Establishment under Weed Pressure:
• Top dry matter yields of Galega were obtained by seeding Galega after pre plant incorporation of Rival (Trifluralin) @ 3L/ha (3,784 kg/ha) or by post emergence spraying of either Basagram Forte @ 1.75L/ha (3,664 kg/ha) or Pursuit @ 210 ml/ha + Ag-Surf @ 0.25% v/v (3,533 kg/ha). These yields fell a bit short of dry matter yield from alfalfa (4,166 kg/ha). The Galega and alfalfa yield differences mentioned here were not significant.
• First cut protein content was the same in alfalfa (21.5 %) and early seeded Galega (21.8 %). All other treatments had relatively lower protein content.
√Comparative performance of gypsum and lime for Galega production:
• Lime @ 1.07 or 2.14 – 3.21 MT/ha and gypsum @ 2.5 MT/ha produced similar dry matter yield of Galega (around 3,000 kg/ha); ~500 kg/ha higher than the check/and gypsum @ 1.25 MT/ha! However, these yield differences were statistically not significant.
• Both the amendments increased the first cut protein content by 4 % point or more as compared to the check (no lime/or gypsum application).
• Mineral content in Galega was also improved by lime and gypsum application.
√Maximizing yield and quality of galega:
• Maximum dry matter yield of Galega (3,832 kg/ha) was obtained with the application of 45 kg N + 24 kg S/ha. Addition of other nutrients (B, Zn and Mn)/or increasing rates of N and S application didn’t help in improving the dry matter yield further.
• Protein content in the first cut was highest (19.2 %; 3.4 % point higher than the check-no nutrient application) at the higher rates of N (60 kg/ha) and S (36 kg/ha) supplemented with B, Zn and Mn.