Submitted to: Forage and Grazinglands
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/26/2007
Publication Date: 11/20/2007
Citation: Sanderson, M.A. 2007. Yield and persistence of forage and root-type chicory cultivars. Electronic Journal of Forage and Grazinglands. Available: http://www.plantmanagementnetwork.org/fg/. Interpretive Summary: Chicory is difficult to manage as a forage crop because it produces many flower stalks (a process called bolting) in the spring. The flower stalks are of lower nutritive value to grazing animals than leaves and reduce the efficiency of grazing. We conducted a field-plot study over three years to compare three forage chicory varieties with three European varieties of root-type chicory to determine their productivity, persistence, and degree of bolting. The chicory cultivars differed in their persistence and degree of bolting during the three-year study. The forage variety ‘Lacerta’ produced a large amount of flowering stems and survived only one production year. The variety ‘Forage Feast’ and the root-type varieties from Europe bolted less than the forage varieties ‘Grasslands Puna’ and ‘Lacerta’. The European root-type varieties yielded slightly less than the forage varieties in one year. None of the varieties maintained adequate plant densities beyond two production years. Farmers should chose chicory varieties with reduced bolting and avoid short-lived varieties. Incorporating the reduced bolting trait from root-type varieties into forage chicory would enhance its usefulness as a grazing crop.
Technical Abstract: A challenge in managing chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) as a forage is dealing with bolting of flower stalks in spring. Root-type cultivars of chicory with reduced bolting potential are available. An experiment was conducted at Rock Springs, PA to compare forage cultivars and European root-type cultivars of chicory for yield, bolting, and persistence under clipping. ‘Grasslands Puna’, ‘Lacerta’, and ‘Forage Feast’ forage cultivars and ‘Dagerrad’, ‘Halle’, and ‘Katrein’ root-type cultivars were sown in April 1999. Plots were cut every 4-wk during May to August 2000 and 2001. Dry matter (DM) yield was determined at each harvest and bolting was estimated visually. Stand densities were determined periodically from October 1999 to June 2002. The cultivars did not differ in DM yield in 2000 (average of 6700 lb DM ac**-1). Grasslands Puna and Lacerta yielded more DM than other cultivars in 2001. More than 80% of Lacerta and Puna plants bolted at the first harvest in both years, whereas only 30 to 40% of Forage Feast and the root cultivars bolted. There was a less than 10% bolting in Forage Feast and the root-type cultivars after the first harvest in 2000 and during all harvests of 2001. Lacerta suffered a 52% loss of plants in 2000 and a cumulative loss of 90% by June 2002. In June 2002 Lacerta had 2 plants ft**-2, whereas the other cultivars averaged 6 plants ft**-2. Selection for reduced bolting would be useful in developing cultivars of forage chicory provided that yield and persistence were not compromised.