Influence of Seeding Date and Growing Season Conditions on Forage Yield and Quality of Four Annual Crops in Northeastern Saskatchewan.

Foster, A. and Malhi, S.S. (2013). "Influence of Seeding Date and Growing Season Conditions on Forage Yield and Quality of Four Annual Crops in Northeastern Saskatchewan.", Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 44(5), pp. 884-891. doi : 10.1080/00103624.2012.747610  Access to full text

Abstract

Field experiments were conducted in 2002 and 2003 on a Black Chernozem (Udic Boroll) silty clay soil at Melfort, Saskatchewan, to determine the effects of seeding date on forage dry-matter yield (DMY) and quality [protein and acid detergent fiber (ADF) contents] of four annual crops [barley (Hordium vulgare L.), oat (Avena sativa L.), triticale (× Triticosecale Wittmack L.), and foxtail millet (Setaria italica L. Beauv; hereafter called Golden German millet)] with various maturities as well as different growing-season temperature and moisture requirements. Seeding date had a significant effect on forage DMY of all four crops in each 2002 and 2003. In 2002, the greatest forage DMY for barley, oat, triticale, and Golden German millet was achieved on 3 July, 22 June, 3 July, and 24 May, respectively. In 2003, the greatest forage DMY was from the 24 May seeding date for all four crops. In both 2002 and 2003, protein content in forage tended to decrease as DMY increased in all crops. In 2002, protein content in forage tended to be greater for the cereals with the early seeding dates and lowest days to harvest. The greatest protein content in forage for Golden German millet occurred at the latest seeding date but the fewest days to harvest. In 2003, the greatest protein content in forage occurred at the latest seeding date and fewest days to maturity for all four crops. In both 2002 and 2003, ADF content in forage responded inversely to protein content in forage. The ADF content in forage tended to increase as DMY of all crops increased and days to harvest increased. The seeding date for maximum DMY of cool-season crops was greatly influenced by the growing-season conditions in this study whereas the seeding date of the one warm-season crop was not. In conclusion, the findings suggest that date of seeding of annual forage crops would affect forage yield, and rainfall distribution throughout the growing season also plays a significant role in annual crop forage yields. As long as there is adequate precipitation later in the growing season, late seeding can also result in good forage yields.

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