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ARS Home » Northeast Area » University Park, Pennsylvania » Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #362366

Research Project: Multifunctional Farms and Landscapes to Enhance Ecosystem Services (Bridge Project)

Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

Title: Brassicas as an alternative forage in the northeastern United States

item Billman, Eric
item DILLARD, LEANNE - University Of Auburn
item Soder, Kathy

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/24/2019
Publication Date: 7/8/2019
Citation: Billman, E.D., Dillard, L.S., Soder, K.J. 2019. Brassicas as an alternative forage in the northeastern United States[abstract]. Journal of Animal Science. P. 1.

Interpretive Summary: No Interpretive Summary is required for this Abstract Only. JLB.

Technical Abstract: In the northeastern United States, winter forage management has traditionally necessitated either: a) feeding conserved forages, or b) stockpiling grazeable perennial forage. Forage brassicas offer a low-cost alternative to these strategies. This project evaluated performance of different annual forage brassicas in northeastern forage production systems. Three brassicas, ‘Barisca’ rapeseed (Brassica napus L.), ‘Inspiration’ canola (B. napus L.), and ‘Appin’ turnip (B. rapa L.) were compared against ‘KB Supreme’ annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) for dry matter yield and nutritive value over two autumn production seasons. Replicated plots were 5.5 x 9.1 m and seeded (brassicas at 5.6 kg ha-1; ryegrass at 22.4 kg ha-1) in August of 2015 and 2016 in a randomized complete block design. Four harvests occurred each year, at two-week intervals following initial harvest. Statistical analyses were conducted using PROC GLIMMIX in SAS 9.4; harvest and species were fixed effects, while year and its interactions were considered random. Harvest date had no significant impact on DM yield (P > 0.05). All brassica yields (734-861 kg ha-1) were significantly greater (P < 0.001) than annual ryegrass (344 kg ha-1). This indicated brassica yield was superior under environmental stress conditions that hinder annual ryegrass growth. Nutritive value content on a per-mass (g kg-1) basis suggested ryegrass had greater CP (281 g kg-1) than the brassicas (242-254 g kg-1) and minimal differences in net energy content (< 0.2 mcal kg-1) among species (P < 0.001). However, per-area (kg ha-1) values resulted in consistently greater (P < 0.001) CP (176-204 kg ha-1), and NEL (1.2-1.5 mcal ha-1) than annual ryegrass (CP = 88 kg ha-1; NEL = 0.56 mcal ha-1). Therefore, the greater yield potential of forage brassicas allows them to supply greater nutrient supplementation during periods of low forage availability, at a reduced feeding cost.