i- uar' '
NOV 04 19887
Agricultural Research and Education Cent er
Research Report RC-1987-2 Univesity of Florida Augmt 1987
SMALL GRAIN FORAGE PRODUCTION: ONA AREC 1986-87
R. J. Stephenson, F. G. Martin and R. D. Barnett-
Small grains are cool-season annual grasses suited to a wide range of
soils and cropping conditions. Rye (Secale cereal L.) and wheat (Triticum
aestivum L.) are best suited to fertile well-drained soils and are more
productive than other small grains on alkaline, acidic or more poorly drained
soils. Oats (Avena sativa L.) are most productive in a cool, moist
environment and are relatively tolerant to wet soil conditions.
Small grains can provide a good quality forage for livestock during the
winter when most producers have little if any hay and perennial grasses are
dormant. Small grains can be grown in prepared seedbeds or overseeded in
permanent pastures extending the grazing season. Quality of small grains
varies depending on the stage of maturity at harvest. Crude protein will
generally run 15-20% and in vitro organic matter disappearance 65-75% if cut
or grazed prior to the boot stage of maturity.
Small grains respond well to N, although P and K are also important.
Large amounts of N increase the danger of lodging, but when used for grazing
is generally of little significance. Phosphorus and K should be applied just
prior to planting and N topdressed when seedlings are approximately 1-3 inches
high and subsequently after grazing or harvesting. Initial grazing or
harvesting of the forage should be done before the meristems or growing points
reach 2-3 inches above the soil surface. Deferring the initial harvest can
result in reduced growth. The time of first harvest will depend on several
factors such as: varietal differences, date of planting, rainfall,
temperature and seeding rates, but is approximately 45-55 days after planting.
Leaf and stem rust (Puccinia recondita f. sp. tritici and P. graminis f.
sp. tritici can be a problem on small grains. Released varieties are
generally resistant to rust, but depending on the environmental conditions
(particularly warm temperatures and high humidity), rust can become severe
enough to reduce forage yields.
New varieties are continually being released by private industry and
universities. These new releases are then evaluated in variety trials to
enable growers to make decisions on the-type and variety of small grains which
may fit their operation.
Assistant Professor, Agricultural Research and Education Center (AREC) Ona;
Professor, Department of Statistics, Gainesville; Professor AREC Quincy.
Small grains seeded at the Ona Agricultural Research and Education Center
(AREC) consisted of: eight wheat, two oat and two rye varieties. The study
was seeded on a clean tilled Ona fine sand November 16, 1986. After the
1985-86 winter season, the land was allowed to revegetate to common
bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon L.) and large crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis
(L.) Scop.) for about five months, then disced for small grains. Experimental
design was a randomized complete block with four replications.
Prior to seeding, 42 and 84 lb/A of P 0 and K 0 were applied and disced
into the soil. At 14 days post emergence 60 Ib of nitrogen was applied,
followed by 30 Ib N/A after each harvest.
All entries were drilled in six inch rows at a depth of 1.5 inches.
Seeding rates were: oats, two bu/A (64 Ib) and wheat and rye at 1.5 bu/A
(wheat-90 lb; rye-84 Ib).
Entries were harvested four times with a rotary plot harvester to a
stubble height of three inches. The initial harvest was made when most
entries were 15-18 inches. Subsequent harvests were made monthly.
Results and Discussion
There were significant differences among small grain varieties in all
analyses except that for harvest two (Table 1). Oat varieties averaged 1.78
t/A total dry matter yield while wheat and ryes averaged 1.4 and 1.35 t/A,
Harvest four provided the greatest amounts of forage for all entries.
This was due to a slightly longer period between harvests three and four and
more favorable moisture conditions over the same period of time. Among grain
types tested, average oat and rye yields were more uniform for the four
harvests (Table 1). This was due to considerable variation among wheat
Oat and rye entries were consistent, as reflected by the total average
dry matter yields. Differences occurred within grain types, particularly
wheat. Florida 302 wheat is a later maturing variety than Florida 301 and
produces the bulk of its forage later in the season as evidenced by the final
harvest. Florida 301 was more consistent throughout the season with total dry
matter yield slightly less than Fla. 302. Generally small grains yield
greater than ryegrass early in the season (January-February), but taper off in
March-May when ryegrass yields are high. With this in mind it could be
advantageous to plant an early to mid maturing small grain with ryegrass to
provide forage throughout the winter months.
Within wheat varieties their existed superior varieties. 'Coker 9323'
and 'Florida 302' were the highest yielding wheat varieties with 1.65 and 1.63
tons/acre dry matter. No significant differences were noted between oat or rye
varieties, but oat forage yields were clearly greater than wheat and rye
entries. Table 2 shows forage yield of several small grain varieties tested
at Ona from 1984-1987.
Table 1. Dry matter production of small grains grown as forage at AREC-Ona,
Harvest Dates Total
Brand Variety 1/9 2/9 3/10 4/15 Yield
Coker -9323 .32 b-d .15 a-d .40 a-d .78 ab 1.65 ab
Fla AES 302 .31 b-d .16 a-d .33 c-e .83 a 1.63 ab
Tex AESt Mitt .26 b-d .23 a-c .37 b-e .56 c-e 1.42 bc
Fla AES 301 .29 b-d .25 a .47 a-c .40 e 1.41 be
Coker 9227 .17 d .12 a-d .25 de .78 ab 1.32 c
Coker 8427 .29 b-d .11 cd .24 de .66 a-c 1.30 c
Coker 983 .19 d .11 b-d .25 de .73 a-c 1.28 c
Neb AES Lancota .20 cd .07 d .23 e .66 a-c 1.17 c
Average .25 (21%)+ .15 (8%) .32 (21%) .68 (50%) 1.40
Coker 820 .53 a .16 a-d .50 ab .60 b-d 1.79 a
Fla AES 502 .33b-d .14 a-d .53 a .76 a-c 1.76 a
Average .43 (22%) .15 (11%) .51 (28Z) .68 (39%) 1.78
Fla AES 401 .41 a-c .25 ab .33 c-e .38 e 1.37 c
NAPB Forger .46 ab .16 a-d .26 de .45 de 1.33 c
Average .44 (31%) .21 (15%) .30 (23%) .42 (31%) 1.35
Means within a column followed by the same letters) are not significantly
different at the 0.01 level of probability according to Duncan's Multiple
tFla AES, Florida Agricultural Experiment Station; Tex AES, Texas Agricultural
Experiment Station; Neb AES, Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station; NAPB,
North American Plant Breeders.
*Values in parenthesis represent percentage of total season yield at that
Table 2. Average small grain dry matter forage production of selected
varieties grown at AREC-Ona, 1984-87.t
Brand Variety 1984 1985 1986 1987 Avg.
Fla AES 301 1.5 1.5 3.1 1.4 1.9
Fla AES* 302 2.1 1.6 3.5 1.6 2.2
Coker 9227 4.2 1.3 2.7
Coker 9323 3.6 1.7 2.6
Coker 983 4.1 1.3 2.7
Fla AES* 502 1.9 1.8 3.4 1.8 2.2
Coker 820 2.2 2.0 3.8 1.8 2.4
Fla AES# 401 1.7 2.1 3.9 1.4 2.3
NAPB Forger 2.7 3.3 1.3 2.4
Variety not tested that year.
tThe 1984-85 data supplied by P. Mislevy, R.
Overman and D. J. Mitchell.
D. Barnett, F. G. Martin, A. J.
*Fla AES, Florida Agricultural Experiment Station; NAPB,
North American Plant