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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #236597

Title: Winter Annual Crops for Forage

Author
item MOYER, JOSEPH
item MARTIN, VICTOR
item Kindiger, Bryan

Submitted to: Agricultural Research Service Station Bulletin
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/30/2009
Publication Date: 7/20/2009
Citation: Moyer, J.L., Martin, V., Kindiger, B.K. 2009. Winter Annual Crops for Forage. Agricultural Research Service Station Bulletin. 23-26.

Interpretive Summary: Winter forage production is important to most types of livestock in the central and southern plains regions of the USA. Beef cattle producers depend heavily on winter annual forages, particularly in stocker grazing programs and where fall and winter calving is practiced. Wheat, Triticale and cereal rye are the major small grains used for winter grazing and are well adapted to the freezing winter extremes of the central and southern plains region and provide an important seasonal grazing resource for livestock in these regions. The search for productive cultivars or experimental cultivars is of major importance to the continuation of a successful and sustainable beef cattle industry in these regions. This study reviews the forage production and performance of several wheat, cereal rye and Triticale cultivars and experimental cultivars in the central plains. Of the non-grass forage species evaluated, hairy vetch production was the most consistent across the experimental test trials. In the forage grass category, the Triticale entries also proved to be more productive than the wheat and rye entries. The cereal ryes were indicated to be the most consistent for early forage production.

Technical Abstract: Winter forage production is important to most types of livestock in the central and southern plains. Beef cattle producers depend heavily on winter annual forages, particularly in stocker grazing programs and where fall and winter calving is practiced. The identification of productive and stress tolerant species and cultivars are important for continuing a successful and sustainable beef cattle industry in the region. The study reviews the replicated performance of several annual winter legume and grass forages and their potential utilization in the central plains. Of the species evaluated, hairy vetch production was the most consistent across the trials and experimental Triticale entries also proved to be more productive than wheat and rye entries. However, cereal ryes proved the most consistent for early forage production.