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ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Grazinglands Research Laboratory » Forage and Livestock Production Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #164720

Title: MULTI-LOCATION ANNUAL RYEGRASS CULTIVAR PERFORMANCE OVER A TWELVE YEAR PERIOD

Author
item REDFEARN, D
item Venuto, Bradley
item PITMAN, W
item BLOUIN, D
item ALISON, M

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/4/2005
Publication Date: 10/27/2005
Citation: Redfearn, D.D., Venuto, B.C., Pitman, W.D., Blouin, D.C., Alison, M.W. 2005. Multi-location annual ryegrass cultivar performance over a twelve year period. Crop Science. 45:2388-2393.

Interpretive Summary: Forage cultivar yield evaluation trials are widely conducted throughout the United States by numerous public and private organizations. These trials are routinely used to make recommendations to producers regarding cultivar selection and to promote or market superior cultivars. However, most of these recommendations are based on two or three years of production data and may not accurately predict longer term performance or consistency of cultivar performance over time. In this study, twelve consecutive years of annual ryegrass cultivar yield performance data across five locations in Louisiana was evaluated. Annual ryegrass is an important winter forage crop in the southeastern United States, from Texas to Florida, and is grown on over 2 million acres. Results from this study indicate that long term environmental variation results in significant fluctuation in relative cultivar performance. The variation among cultivars for forage production, observed in this study, supports the need for long-term cultivar evaluation. Data based upon two or three years of observation can easily be skewed, relative to the long-term trend, depending upon the particular years in which such observations are made.

Technical Abstract: During the past 50 years annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) has become an important forage crop in the southeastern USA and systematic performance trials have been conducted in Louisiana for over 20 years. Objectives were to evaluate cultivar yield performance across 12 years at five locations in Louisiana, to assess yield distribution within the growing season, and to estimate cultivar stability. The measure of efficacy was early-season (total yield prior to 1 Mar.), late-season (total yield after 1 Mar.) and total annual yield per replication. Mean performance of all cultivars and individual cultivars (for common years tested) were compared to 'Gulf' or 'Marshall'. Differences in performance were significant among years, cultivars, and year by cultivar interactions, when analyzed for early- and total-season production. Effects of cultivar, and year by cultivar interactions were significant for late-season production. Mean total-season yield across all locations and cultivars ranged from 7.8 Mg/ha (1996) to 11.9 Mg/ha (1992). Mean early-season yields ranged from 2.3 Mg/ha (1996) to 4.6 Mg/ha (1989). Mean late-season yields ranged from 5.1 Mg/ha (1995) to 7.4 Mg/ha (1992). There was no trend for mean total annual yield to increase over time. Across 12 years, the total-season yield of Gulf was not different from the all cultivar mean yield.. However, early-season yield of Gulf was greater (216 kg/ha) and late-season yield was less (-169 kg/ha) than the all cultivar mean. Early-, late-, and total-season yields of Marshall were greater than the all cultivar means (472, 161 and 317 kg/ha respectively). Although forage production of Marshall was not stable across locations and years, it consistently out-performed most cultivars evaluated. Given the large yearly fluctuation in yields, it is apparent that environmental factors may be primary determinants of cultivar performance.