The 2019 Forage Performance Trials Report is now available, providing a summary of performance data collected from forage variety trials in Ohio during 2019. The data include commercial varieties of alfalfa, annual ryegrass and cover crops in tests planted in 2017 and 2018 at South Charleston, Ohio.
The 2017 seeding at South Charleston had yields averaging 6.81 tons per acre in 2019, followed by the 2018 seeding at South Charleston of yields averaging 5.44 tons per acre. The report is available online at u.osu.edu/perf.
Wet weather in the spring reduced alfalfa yields and stands across many parts of Ohio, but at the test site near South Charleston, the rainfall was not excessive — although very frequent from spring through early summer.
In the annual ryegrass trial seeded in September 2018, winter injury differed among varieties. Visual stand density ranged from a low of 49% to a high of 98%. Forage yields in 2018-19 averaged 3.6 tons of dry matter per acre, near the long-term average at South Charleston. The best varieties yielded just over 4 tons of dry matter per acre; the lowest-yielding variety, 2.5 tons per acre.
Trials included fall 2019 and spring 2019
A cover crop variety trial was planted Sept. 20, 2018, at the South Charleston location to evaluate different cover crop species and varieties for stand and groundcover development throughout the fall; and for stand, groundcover and final biomass production the following spring. Varieties of annual ryegrass, red clover, crimson clover, winter pea, radish and hairy vetch were tested this year.
For more details on forage species and management, see the Ohio Agronomy Guide, Ohio State University Extension Bulletin No. 472, which can be purchased from OSU Extension eStores at estore.osu-extension.org.