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Virginia Cooperative Extension - Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Small Grain Forage Variety Testing, 2007.

Crop and Soil Environmental News, August 2007

Dave Starner, Superintendent Northern Piedmont AREC, Steve Gulick, Research Specialist, Northern Piedmont AREC, Alvin Hood, Technician, Northern Piedmont AREC,  Wade Thomason, Extension Grains Specialist.

A forage production trial of commercial barley, oat, rye, triticale, and wheat cultivars has been conducted yearly from 1994-2007 at the Northern Piedmont AREC, Orange.  Long-term results were published in 2004 and are available on the web at

This report presents the results and precipitation from this trial in the 2006-07 growing season.

Management and Weather

Preplant fertilizer of 23-60-30-30S was applied on October 12, 2006.  Plots were planted on Oct. 23, 2006 and were seven, seven inch rows wide by 16 feet long, trimmed to 12 feet for harvest.  Plots emerged on November 7.  Tillers were counted and ground cover was estimated on March 6, 2007 Nitrogen as UAN as a rate of 60 lb of N per acre was applied on March 9, 2007.  The plots were harvested for forage yield at the boot (GS 45) and soft dough (GS 85) stages for barley, oats, triticale, and wheat and at the boot and flowering stages for rye.  The entire length of the plots (12 feet) was harvested with a 12-inch Jari sickle-bar mower and weighed with an electronic hanging scale.  

Precipitation for the growing season, compared to the 62 year average, is listed below.


2006-07 Season

62-yr average






























Rain and unseasonable warm temperatures in early winter favored small grain development and tillering.  Average temperatures in January were more than seven degrees above the long term average for that time of year and resulted in a boost in small grain growth.  Late winter brought unseasonable cool temperatures and dry weather with February and March rainfall at 80 percent of normal at the site.  The “Easter Freeze” resulted in some damage especially to early heading cultivars.  This resulted in a number of secondary tillers being formed in many plots, which may partially explain the relatively high crude protein values for the soft dough harvest.


Results are reported for 35 percent dry matter (DM), DM yield, and nutritive value for oats, wheat, barley, rye, and triticale crops. 

Experimental plots vary in yield and other measurements due to their location in the field and other factors which cannot be controlled. The statistics given in the tables are intended to help the reader make valid comparisons between cultivars. The magnitude of differences which may have been due to experimental error has been computed for the data and listed at the bottom of columns as the LSD (.05) (least significant difference with 95 percent confidence). Differences must be greater that the LSD to be believed to truly exist.

Table 1.  Small Grain Forage Variety Test, Northern Piedmont AREC, Orange, Va 2006-2007, Boot Stage Harvest

table 1

Table 2.  Small Grain Forage Variety Test, Northern Piedmont AREC, Orange, Va 2006-2007, Soft Dough Stage Harvest

Table 2



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