Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/21/2002
Publication Date: 5/20/2003
Citation: SANDERSON, M.A., LABREVEUX, M., HALL, M.H., ELWINGER, G. FORAGE YIELD AND PERSISTENCE OF CHICORY AND ENGLISH PLANTAIN. CROP SCIENCE. 2003. v. 43 p. 995-1000 Interpretive Summary: Establishing complex pasture plant communities has received renewed attention in the northeastern USA. Several new forage species, such as chicory and plantain, are available that may have potential for this mixture, but information on their adaptation and productivity in the Northeast is lacking. The objective of our research was to determine the persistence and productivity of chicory and plantain. Our results indicate that plantain lacks suitable persistence for use in the northeastern USA. Chicory yielded more and persisted better than plantain; however, significant stand losses occurred. Managing the spring reproductive growth (bolting) of chicory would be a challenge for graziers. Forage Feast, a recently released variety of forage chicory, had significantly less bolting than other chicory cultivars, which may reduce herbage waste from ungrazed stems. This advantage, however, may be offset by its reduced persistence. The chicory variety, Lacerta, does not appear well suited for use in the northeastern USA because of poor persistence and a high degree of bolting. Grasslands Puna is the best adapted variety of chicory for the northeast USA.
Technical Abstract: Graziers in the northeast often face forage shortages in midsummer. Chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) and English plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.) have been introduced in the USA as perennial herbs for pastures and have been touted as drought tolerant. We conducted two field-plot experiments at Rock Springs, PA from 1997 to 2001 to evaluate chicory and plantain for yield and persistence under clipping. `Grasslands Puna', `Lacerta', and `Forage Feast' chicory, and `Ceres Tonic', and `Grasslands Lancelot' plantain were sown in field plots in May 1997 (Experiment 1) and 1999 (Experiment 2). Plots were cut on a 3- or 5-wk schedule in 1998 and 1999 in Experiment 1 and on a 4-wk schedule during 2000 and 2001 in Experiment 2. Dry matter yield was determined at each harvest along with a visual estimate of flower stalk formation. Stand densities were determined periodically during each experiment. Puna chicory produced 7350 kg ha-1 of dry matter averaged across years and experiments, whereas Forage Feast yielded 6850 kg ha-1. Lacerta did not establish in Experiment 1. In Experiment 2, Lacerta chicory yielded an average of 6100 kg ha-1. Forage Feast and Puna chicory had stand losses of 20 to 50% in Experiment 1 and 40 to 60% in Experiment 2. Lacerta chicory lost 80% of the stand during Experiment 2. Forage Feast bolted less than Puna or Lacerta chicory. Tonic and Lancelot plantain yielded 4700 to 7300 kg dry matter ha-1 yr-1. Both plantain cultivars flowered prolifically from May to July and died out within 2 yr in both experiments. The stand decline in plantain was related to weed competition and lack of winter survival. Plantain does not appear to be suited as a forage for the northeastern USA.