Monday, November 26, 2012

2012 Forage Performance Trial Results

Results from the 2012 Ohio Forage Performance Trials are now available online at The report includes yield trials of commercial varieties of alfalfa, red and white clover, tall fescue, and annual ryegrass n tests planted in 2008 to 2012 across three sites in Ohio: South Charleston, Wooster, and North Baltimore. There is also a downloadable pdf file for easy printing of the results, as well as downloadable Excel files.

Forage yields were very respectable despite the dry summer, although our testing sites received more rainfall than many areas of Ohio in 2012. Yields averaged from 5.8 to 6.5 tons/acre for alfalfa, 5.6 tons/acre for red clover, 2.4 tons/acre for white clover, 5.7 tons/acre for tall fescue, and 6.3 tons/acre for annual ryegrass (planted in September 2011).

The results demonstrate the importance of selecting adapted varieties with a proven yield record across locations. In our trials in 2012, individual alfalfa varieties varied in yield from 14 to 20% depending on location. Improved red clover varieties yielded up to 53% more than common (VNS) medium red clover. White clover varieties differed in yield by as much as 12.6%, tall fescue varieties differed by up to 7% yield, and annual ryegrass varieties differed by up to 42% yield.

Links to forage performance trials in other states are included on the Ohio Forage Performance Trials website. One very useful link is an interactive website to compare alfalfa varieties across many locations (including Ohio data). It is important to consider yield not only close to home, but across several environments, because every year presents different weather conditions. Varieties with good yield performance across multiple environments are likely to produce more stable yields across soil types and years on your farm.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

South Central Ohio Grazing School

The  "Pasture for Profit" will be held the evening of December 4 and 6, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm and concludes on Saturday, December 8, 2012 9:00 am until noon.  The program will be held at the Jackson Agricultural Research Station, OARDC, 019 Standpipe Road, Jackson Ohio 45640.
The topics to be covered at the three day grazing school include; What is MiG and What are Your Goals and Objectives of Your Grazing System?, Evaluating Your Resources, Understanding Plant Growth, Grazing Economics, Forage Species Selection, Grazing Systems and Contingency Plans for the Good, Bad and Ugly, Paddock Layout and Design, Pasture Soil Fertility.  Saturday, the last day of the school will include a farm visit to view grazing management practices, including fence and livestock watering systems in the field.
The $30 fee includes refreshments and a large notebook of reference material.  To register, make your check payable to Jackson SWCD, 2026 Fairgreens Road, Jackson, OH 45640. For further information, contact the Jackson SWCD at 740-286-5208 or the Vinton County SWCD at 740-596-5676.  Registration deadline is November 29, 2012.