Submitted to: Popular Publication
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2006
Publication Date: 7/1/2006
Citation: Coblentz, W.K., Jennings, J.A. 2006. Rainfall Effects on Wilting Forages. Progressive Hay Grower. 7(4):20-25.
Interpretive Summary: Given the uncertainty of the weather, specific recommendations for managing potential rain damage to wilting forage crops are difficult. For tall fescue, results of experiments at the University of Arkansas indicate that the damage created by a single rainfall event of approximately one inch is not excessive, particularly when compared to the rapid changes in forage quality that are occurring simultaneously because of advancing maturity. This suggests that producers could be more aggressive during the late-spring with fairly limited risk. Orchardgrass and legumes may be more susceptible to rain damage, and may need to be managed more conservatively. In contrast, the quality characteristics of bermudagrass are only minimally affected by rainfall events; however, this may be less important because weather patterns usually become more stable during summer months.
Technical Abstract: Given the uncertainty of the weather and inherent differences between forage crops, specific recommendations for managing potential rain damage to wilting forages are difficult. However, there are a number of principles that can be applied to best manage the potential for rain damage. These science-based principles and their interaction with specific forage crops are described in detail, thereby allowing producers to make more informed management decisions.