Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Forage Variety Trial Results

Field performance data collected from forage variety trials in Ohio during 2007 is available online at The report was published in Ohio’s Country Journal in December, and is also available at county extension offices in Ohio.

The report includes performance of commercial varieties of alfalfa, red clover, orchardgrass, tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, and annual ryegrass in tests at South Charleston, North Baltimore, Wooster, and Jackson, Ohio.

Forage yields varied widely from north to south in 2007. The effect of a late spring freeze and dry summer were more severe in the southern half of Ohio. First harvest yields in the performance trials ranged from 14 to 62% below normal, and total season yields ranged from 18 to 80% below normal.

The lowest yields were at Jackson in southeast Ohio, where alfalfa yielded only 1.1 tons of dry matter per acre and tall fescue yielded 2.4 dry tons/acre. In contrast, alfalfa yields at Wooster in northeastern Ohio were near normal with first harvest yields of 2.8 dry tons/acre and total season yields averaging 7.4 dry tons/acre.

Orchardgrass yields at South Charleston in west central Ohio in 2007 were 24% below the 2006 yields. Perennial ryegrass at South Charleston suffered winter injury, and yields were further reduced by the drought, averaging 68% below 2006 yield levels.

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service reported alfalfa yields in 2007 were 23% below 2006 yields in Ohio. Other hay in 2007 yielded 25% below 2006 levels in Ohio. The lower yields and a 6.6% drop in acreage resulted in a 30% drop in total Ohio hay production.